Monday, March 4, 2013

Warm Winters Kill Moose

    This article details the mystery of the declining moose population in Minnesota.  From 2012 to 2013 it is estimated that the moose population in the Minneapolis region has decreased by approximately 35%.  Additionally, over the last 7 years the total population has fallen from just under 9,000 to just under 3,000 (CBS 2013).  The main question is: what is killing off all of the moose? 
    Wildlife researchers postulate that this could be attributable to many different things such as changes in habitat, climate or disease.  A more recent study has found that ticks are the main cause of the decline in the population.  The study tagged 100 moose and studied their bodies immediately after they passed away.  They found an extraordinary amount of ticks in the bodies.  The researchers connect the increased number of ticks to climate change globally and locally.  Moose in other areas like Maine and Alaska are not facing the same problems because of the colder temperatures in those regions. 
    The area cancelled the fall hunting season in a last resort to assist the moose population.  I find this problem extremely perplexing.  The problem in this case is not over hunting or something that can be easily controlled.  It appears to be a small piece of a larger problem.  I would like to know if there is an economic short run solution that could help these moose.  Is there a feasible way to privatize this situation?  Although it seems cruel, it might be more cost effective to let the moose population die out in the area.  The people value the moose for hunting and as a local luxury.  It is really a race against the clock before the population dissipates, but there are currently no major solutions proposed. I believe that this scenario raises extremely difficult questions because it requires a short run solution to a long run problem.
--Ken Jee

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