Friday, February 6, 2009

Dying Moose in Minnesota.

So after complaining about not having information on Moose in Minnesota, I decided to do a quick google search. However, what I found was not what I wanted to read.

Dec 27 2008.

It wasn’t long ago that thousands of moose roamed the gentle terrain of northwestern Minnesota, affirming the iconic status of the antlered, bony-kneed beast from the North Woods. In just two decades, though, their numbers have
plummeted, from 4,000 to fewer than a hundred.

They didn’t move away. They just died.

The primary culprit in what is known as the moose mystery, scientists say, is climate change, which has systematically reduced the Midwest’s already dwindling moose population and provoked alarm in Minnesota, where wildlife specialists gathered for a “moose summit” this month in Duluth.

“There’s not a lot of opportunity to turn this around,” said Mark Lenarz, a wildlife research specialist at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. “Here in Minnesota, they [moose] have been weakened by climate change.”

Temperatures tell much of the story. Over the last 40 years in northwest Minnesota, the average winter temperature has risen significantly — 12 degrees — while summers are 4 degrees warmer. Solitary and temperamentally grumpy, moose have made it clear in their estimated 13,000 years in North America that they hate warm weather.

The mounting concern about the fate of the moose comes as the Bush administration in its last weeks is revising endangered species regulations in ways that prohibit federal agencies from evaluating the effects of increased global warming on endangered species.

Officially, the moose is not endangered in the United States. But it is in danger of disappearing from the Midwest, which is the far southern fringe of its range. Roughly 7,700 moose reside in Minnesota, nearly all in the northeast section of the state. That’s a drop of almost 50 percent in the last 20 years.

On a personal level, what's most frusterating about global warming is how powerless I feel. I ride my bike as opposed to driving (unless there's a blizzard), I recycle almost everything I use, I have the lowest electricity bill of anyone you'll ever meet, I encouraged others to try 'going green'...and yet it's really all for nothing. The rest of The United States either doesn't believe in it or just doesn't care. And that's the problem--the indifference. I'm interested to see how indifferent people will be when our major coastal cities flood from increased global sea levels. Maybe then they'll start caring.