The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service would consider protecting moose under the Endangered Species Act, said the Center for Biological Diversity on Thursday. The population of this mammal has declined 60 percent in Minnesota within the last ten years, due to climate change and other conditions.

Disease and Habitat degradation are also contributing to the decline of the species from the deer family. Currently, an estimated 4,000 moose are surviving in Minnesota. They will disappear from that region if they are not protected.

Collette Adkins, a biologist, and attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity said that The Endangered Species Act (ESA) may be helpful to protect moose, which are recognized as a symbol of the northern woodlands.

ESA is an environmental law designed to protect threatened and endangered plants, animals and the habitats where they concur, said the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
ESA is an environmental law designed to protect threatened and endangered plants, animals and the habitats where they concur, said the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Image Credit: World Animal Foundation

“The Endangered Species Act is the best tool we have to prevent the extinction of our moose. I’ve saddened that moose are in such big trouble that they need the Act’s protection but relieved that help is likely on the way for these iconic symbols of the North Woods,” said Adkins.

Nearly 2300 species are listed as endangered under the ESA, including 650 foreign species.

Which is the difference between “endangered” and “threatened” species?

Federal officials have explained that endangered species are in danger of extinction, while endangered species are likely to become endangered species if populations are not protected. Currently, moose can only be found in the country’s Midwest.

Researchers suggest that ESA protection may be fundamental for moose surviving in the following regions: Northeastern and northwestern Minnesota, northeastern North Dakota, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and Isle Royale and Wisconsin.

Researchers at the Center for Biological Diversity explained that moose can withstand cold environments due to their thick fur. They also have a long leg and wide feet, that allow them to move around snow with no effort.

Moose are being affected by climate change and decreasing snowfalls

Some moose may be suffering from overheating, given that temperatures are increasing, and snow is declining in the United States. These conditions can lead them to malnutrition and weakening of the immune system.

Warmer temperatures may also contribute to the development of ticks and other pathogens that can affect them, said researchers in a press release issued Wednesday. Adkins explained that habitat destruction caused by mining industries, disease, and other factors were “driving moose to the brink.”

“Like so many Minnesotans, I love the North Woods because of wildlife like moose, wolves, and lions. The Endangered Species Act is saving the wolf, and it can save the moose too,” said Adkins.

If Federal officials protect moose under the EPA, the state will provide money for research of the species. The law would also provide habitat protection where needed, to save the last moose surviving.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife service issued Thursday a status review of moose in the Midwest. Americans have two months to argue about new findings, regarding the survival of the species.

Some states have already taken action to preserve moose’s living

Moose are the largest members of the deer family, said the center. In comparison with sociable deer species, moose tend to be solitary. They are herbivorous, so they mostly feed on grasses, leaves, and stems.

Mose would only be protected under the Endangered Species Act in Minnesota, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, North Dakota and Wisconsin, where researchers have carried out an investigation about the species’ decline.

In 2013 Minnesota shut down moose hunt, while North Dakota has restricted the number of hunting tags. Moose hunting has always been prohibited in Michigan and Wisconsin, which consider the mammal as a “species of particular concern.”

However, that legal status does not offer protection to moose, and their habitat said, researchers. Democratic Governor of Minnesota Mark Dayton banned on last year radio collaring of moose. He cited numbers of moose that died after they were managed by scientists.

“Nothing is more priceless and more worthy of preservation than the rich array of animal life with which our country has been blessed,” said President Nixon in 1973, when signing the ESA.

President Obama announced Thursday new measures to safeguard African elephants

Trade and exports of ivory will be restricted in the United States, as announced by President Barack Obama on Thursday. The plan is part of the National Strategy on Wildlife Trafficking presented by the president’s administration.

The U.S. is responsible for most of the ivory purchases worldwide, said the Center for Biological Diversity. The new law prohibits sales of some products, containing more than 200 grams of ivory.

Sarah Uhlemann, international program director at the Center for Biological Diversity, said that reducing ivory sales may contribute to saving elephants in Africa. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced in March that elephants are now classified as “endangered” species.

An estimated 100,000 forest elephants and 400,000 savannah elephants remain in Africa. The new law passed on Thursday provides data about restrictions regarding import and export of ivory products.

Source: Center for Biological Diversity