Climate Change Threatens Midwest Moose

Rising temperatures kill off moose populations in Michigan, Minnesota

Climate change, hath thou no mercy? After painting a bullseye on every polar bear in existence, it now seems that the global extinction phenomenon could eradicate another symbolic creature of the north from large portions of its historical range: The mighty moose.

As average temperatures in Minnesota and Michigan climbed 12 degrees in the last 40 years, moose populations started dying off. In the last two decades alone, the number of moose in the North Woods of Minnesota has dropped by about 50 percent, and moose in the northwestern part of the state have dwindled from around 4,000 to less than a hundred.

While some bears and wolves have adjusted rather well to climbing temps, moose find it harder to stay cool and find food when the thermometer rises. To compound matters, moose don't migrate when conditions worsen—they usually just give up and die.

Sarah Palin made sure 2008 wasn't the best year for moose, and thanks to climate change, 2009 doesn't seem like it'll be any better. Somewhere, Bullwinkle is crying.

(If you're worried about what other animals might bite it thanks to global warming, check out "Species We Can Kiss Goodbye" from our September 2007 issue.)

—Ted Alvarez

Moose are roaming right out of existence (LA Times)