Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Who are you hiding behind bullwinkle?

It seems that the lovable moose has been adapting to life in Yellowstone Park in the past decade. They also have been taking advantage of human developement according to a report by researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society.

"The closest moose we had give birth was 50 yards from a road," stated Joel Berger, Wildlife Society biologist.

The researchers tracked the locations of both moose and brown bears in Yellowstone Park from 1995 to 2004 and the results of their report were released online October 9 2007 in the Biology Letters. Brown bears prey heavily on moose calves and they found that over the ten years, the bear population increased rapidly due to conservation efforts. During that same time, they found that moose moved closer to paved roads to calve, where bears typically shy away.

Over the ten years, they found that moose had moved an average of 400 feet closer to the roads each year to give birth, when they normally tend to stay approximately 1,000 feet from the roads. The brown bears try to avoid human contact and stay an average of 1.600 feet from roads in all places, including Yellowstone.

Other species have shown the same methods in protecting their newborns. In Nepal, axis deer have escaped from tigers by staying close to tourist centers and in Kenya, velvet monkeys avoid leopards by staying close to the ranger stations.

The moose apparently have found out how to protect themselves and their newborns....... and they have been using unwitting human park visitors to do that for over a decade.

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