A recent U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service review has considered a petition to have the northwestern subspecies of American moose listed under the Endangered Species Act. Officials believe the Center for Biological Diversity petition offers “substantial scientific or commercial information” that the subspecies warrants listing under the ESA.
The subspecies of moose in question is found in Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources will be assisting the USFWS in determining the moose’s status.
“Moose are one of Michigan’s iconic wildlife species,” said Michigan DNR Wildlife Division Chief Russ Mason in a press release.
This particular moose has a tumultuous history in Michigan. Once prolific across both the Upper and Lower Peninsulas, the destruction of their habitat, commercial hunting and disease drove the animal from the state in the early 20th century.
Attempts to reintroduce the species in the 1930s failed, but in the 1980s wildlife biologists were able to take 59 moose from Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario and transport them to Marquette County.
“In Michigan, the moose population has declined for a variety of reasons, including habitat loss, predation and climate change,” Mason also said. “Moose thrive in cold conditions due to their thick insulating fur, long legs and wide feet. Warmer temperatures put moose at risk of overheating, which causes malnutrition and immune system concerns.”
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources will aid the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in the federal agency’s evaluation of whether the northwestern subspecies should be afforded federal protection.