MOOSE CONSERVATION IN THE NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE SYSTEM, USA

Robin L West

Abstract


The National Wildlife Refuge System in the United States includes about 150 million acres of lands and waters within 550 refuges managed for conservation. A variety of laws, regulations, and management polices help ensure these areas will be preserved for future generations. In a web-based survey, 35 refuges reported having established populations of moose (Alces alces) within their boundaries with nearly 40 million acres of moose habitat, 99% in Alaska. The 4 recognized subspecies
of moose in North America were represented on refuges found in 12 states. Approximately 39,000 moose were reported inhabiting refuges in the USA; about 38,000 in Alaska. Only 9 refuges used management practices specifically to benefit moose, primarily prescribed or wildland fire. Moose populations on refuges varied greatly and refuge managers reported numerous concerns including climate change, illegal harvest, habitat loss or degradation, parasites, disturbance, moose-vehicle collisions, predators, and both recreational and subsistence hunting. Future management implications of these issues are discussed.

Keywords


Alces alces; climate change; management; moose; national policy; survey; wildlife refuges

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