Michigan's biannual moose survey shows growth in the animal's population. The state's Department of Natural Resources conducted a survey in February in the western Upper Peninsula. The department says the herd is increasing about 2 percent a year.
In a press release, the DNR said:
The western U.P. moose range covers about 1,400 square miles in parts of Marquette, Baraga, and Iron counties. The eastern U.P. population of moose is not surveyed but is estimated to be fewer than 100 moose. This population includes animals living within the Seney National Wildlife Refuge and Tahquamenon Falls State Park.
The department estimates the herd at 509 animals. The state airlifted moose from Canada in the mid-1980s. Officials say the moose surveyed are descendants of that original herd.
"In some areas of the country moose have been declining, sometimes in large numbers," said John Pepin, deputy public information officer for the DNR. "So, the fact that our population is increasing, all be it at a small amount, it seems to indicated a healthy population."
The Moose Hunting Advisory Council recommends to only allow hunting if a growth rate of greater 3 percent is maintained. The department says the population isn't big enough to allow them to be hunted.