Global warming is a hoax! Those moose are just pretending to die

Categories: Science
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For anybody interested in Minnesota's native fauna, one of the most disturbing trends of recent times has been the dramatic collapse of the state's once-robust moose population. The numbers tell the story. In 1985, the moose herd in northwest Minnesota was estimated at approximately 4,000 animals. The most recent surveys place the count at fewer than 300.

For about a decade, researchers have struggled mightily to find an explanation for the spike in mortality rates. To do so, they placed radio collars on some 152 animals, collected road kills, and performed about 160 autopsies. The conclusion? In a nutshell, the moose are dying off because of climate change.

The summary report from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Northwest Minnesota Moose Mystery Research, is a short and relatively easy read. But, for all you global warming deniars out there, here's the money quote:

[P]opulation decreases often occurred the year after summers with higher mean summer temperatures. Winter and summer temperatures in the past 41 years have increased by about 12 degrees F and 4 degrees F, respectively and the growing season has lengthened by about 39 days.

In other words, because moose are especially subject to specific temperature thresholds--it is very hard for them to remain cool in hot weather--they have become more vulnerable to the stresses brought on by disease, parasites, and malnutrition. The final passage of the report is striking for its hopeless tone:

The study concluded that climatic changes combined with increases in deer numbers and parastic transmission rates may have rendered Northwest Minnesota inhospitable to moose.

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