Lucky to see moose

Rhonda Silence

I have been delighted this summer to receive a number of photos of moose from Cook County News- Herald readers. We aren’t able to publish them all, but we love seeing them.

It is encouraging to see moose in places where they haven’t been seen for the last few years. We have had several people share pictures of the cow with two calves hanging out by Swamper Lake on the Gunflint Trail. Another reader shared pictures of a young bull moose loitering by his pond on County Road 6 in Grand Marais. Yet another reader caught a big bull moose with beautiful velvety antlers on his game camera in the Pike Lake area. A cow and calf have also been photographed at Little John Lake at the end of the Arrowhead Trail in Hovland.

Seeing so many moose pictures gives me hope that the moose will continue to be part of our northern landscape. I hope that cows in the Arrowhead region have enough calves to sustain the population. It would be terrible to have to travel to Minneapolis to see our majestic moose at the Minnesota Zoo.

It was very disturbing to see the numbers of moose calves that had died so soon after being collared in the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources moose calf mortality study. I’m glad to hear that researchers are considering how and when they collar young moose to lessen their impact on the calves. I hope that scientists figure out a way to not contribute to the moose’s decline.

I also hope that the data they are collecting from the movement of the moose calves and all the unfortunate deaths will give some clues as to why moose are disappearing. Is it depredation by wolves and bear? Is it reaction to warmer winters? Is it because of an airborne disease carried by mosquitoes? Is it lack of browse areas? Is it all of the above?

We are fortunate in Cook County to have front row seats to ongoing moose studies—both the calf mortality monitoring and a related study of adult moose. And we’re fortunate to have a wildlife biologist in our community who can help make sense of what has been learned to date.

Next week, on Thursday, August 15 at 7 p.m. at the Grand Marais Cook County Higher Education campus, Dr. Seth Moore, who leads the biology and environmental departments at Grand Portage Trust Lands, will talk to the community about the dwindling moose population in Minnesota. I plan to attend to hear Dr. Moore’s thoughts on what is affecting the moose population. I want to hear what can be done to encourage recovery of the moose.

I want to continue to be lucky enough to see moose—in photos in the News-Herald—and in my own back yard.

These are God’s own horses,
poor, timid creatures that
will run fast enough as soon
as they smell you, though
they are nine feet high.

Henry David Thoreau

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2013-08-10 digital edition

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