I love the fact that moose have made a comeback in the Adirondacks. We celebrate Adirondack moose sightings on the Essex blog and list the lumbering, massive-antlered ungulates as one of our native critters. (Male moose often carry racks wider than six feet from side to side!)
But how strong really is the Adirondack moose population?
After all, when was the last time you witnessed this supersized member of the deer family with an elongated head, a muzzle drooping over his chin, and a furry “bell” or beard dangling from his throat? When was the last time you heard the curious moaning-lowing-mooing sound of an Adirondack moose drifting through the forest?
Reality Check for a North Country Icon
A discouraging drop in populations of American moose (Alces americanus) in New Hampshire and Minnesota have prompted New York State to undertake a comprehensive Adirondack moose checkup to better understand our native moose population.
Last week the Times Union ran an Associated Press article by Mary Esch that announced a three-year analysis of the population and distribution – as well as the overall health and habitat – of Adirondack moose. (Actually, the study is not limited to moose within the Blue Line, but I suspect that most of the concentration is within the 6+ million acre Adirondack Park.)
I recommend that you read the full article, “A checkup for an Adirondacks icon“, but here are a few highlights.
NYS wildlife biologist Ed Reed sums up the initiative:
The aim is to figure out how many moose we have, where they are, what kind of habitat they’re using and whether the population is stable, declining or growing… We have a basic idea of the population, around 500 to 1,000, based on road kill, hunter reports and some aerial surveys. But we don’t have enough of that for a sound estimate. (Times Union)
The study is being orchestrated by the DEC and implemented by Cornell University, the SUNY ESF, and the Wildlife Conservation Society.
Aerial counts by helicopter will be conducted in January, when the dark animals stand out against the snow. Cornell will analyze DNA from moose scat to get information on diet and population genetics. And GPS satellite tracking collars will be used to follow four cows in real time on a computer screen, much like companies keep track of their truck fleets.[…]
Paul Schuette, a postdoctoral researcher at SUNY ESF, is developing a systematic way to estimate the Adirondack moose population and trends through time… As part of the project, Schuette said, researchers will develop a website and possibly a smartphone app this winter to disseminate moose information and encourage the public to report sightings and other observations. (Times Union)
Adirondack Moose Population Strong?
What’s your sense of the Adirondack moose population. Have you personally witnessed a moose? More than one moose?
I understand anecdotally that it’s more common to see female moose (“cows”) than male moose (“bulls”). I recollect seeing a healthy female moose about thirty years ago along Lake Shore Road between Essex and Westport. She ran across the road in front of our small car. My mother was driving and my father was dubious when we reported the incident over dinner. Back then it was extremely rare to experience moose in the Adirondack Park.
The following day we saw the female moose again, this time accompanied by a juvenile, the two grazing in a clearing less than a quarter mile from where we had seen the female. My father was again suspicious that we had misjudged the unfamiliar animals.
A few days later the cow and calf moose were photographed and featured in the Valley News!
We would be interested in your moose sightings. And maybe, just maybe, you’ve been fortunate enough to snap a photograph?
Share your experience in the comments below or on our Facebook page. If you have a photograph to share, contact us and we would love to feature it on the blog.
- Moose in the Adirondacks (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Moose Die-Offs Prompt Population Count in Adirondacks (natureworldnews.com)
- Researchers Assess Adirondack Moose After Die-Offs (minnesota.cbslocal.com)
- Researchers assess Adirondack moose after die-offs (winonadailynews.com)
- This weekend in the Adirondacks (northcountrypublicradio.org)