Green Guide

2 moose population studies moving forward

Posted November 26

— Two moose surveillance projects are moving forward in Wyoming as populations face struggles like drought and predators.

Moose will be monitored in the Big Horns and in the Snowy Range, the Casper Star-Tribune reports (http://bit.ly/2gsIoJI ).

Officials believe the Big Horns population was doing well, but there have been recent concerns, Game and Fish official Doug Brimeyer said.

That herd is younger and has not been studied as much as some others.

Snowy Range moose are thinner and researchers are worried about low pregnancy rates, said Matt Kauffman, leader of the USGS Wyoming Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit at the University of Wyoming.

He said the southeast Wyoming herd is not as fat as moose in other parts of the state, possibly because of food quality or a mountain pine beetle epidemic. Data gleaned from the surveillance project will help biologists understand more, Kauffman said.

The project there continues previous work in the area. Researchers hope it will provide a better understanding of the moose herd, survival rates and the animals' movement and habitat.

But unlike other big game animals, such as deer and elk, moose are difficult to study. They don't wander out of the mountains each winter in large packs, preferring to stay in the trees by themselves or in small groups.

"It becomes hard to figure out how well they are doing," Kauffman told the newspaper. "You have to be more of a detective with moose to figure out how their populations are doing."

The research will let wildlife managers compare the herds with others.

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