Jackson Hole Moose – Love Them
Who can resist a Jackson Hole moose – or a few of them? And no, the plural of Moose isn’t ‘Moosen’ – like Ox and Oxen – it’s simply ‘Moose’ or perhaps ‘More Moose’ – but I digress. Just out in this week’s Jackson Hole News and Guide is a report about encouraging numbers of moose in the Jackson Hole area right now – even after a particularly heavy winter, in which we had near record snows in February and we are currently at 144% of snow-pack for the time of year.
Since the 1980’s, moose numbers have declined precipitously – perhaps as much as 85% – so it’s encouraging when a recent moose count, provided by volunteers of Jackson Hole citizens in an overall effort of ‘nature-mapping’, showed an increase of 38 animals in the past year. The current number of moose counted in Jackson Hole was 275. These numbers were melded with numbers from ‘Moose Day’ – a different counting effort, also by volunteers, that took place on March 1st.
What is most important and encouraging is the ratio of calves to cows (the cow-calf ratio), which is currently a healthy 37 calves for every 100 cows. In 2008 it was just 15. However, this is just an encouraging blip in an overall downward trend…like a rainstorm in a long drought – so we have to continue to be concerned. (But, to be absolutely truthful and honest – moose are not indigenous to this area.)
Some would say that the decline in moose population is due to wolf predation. And that is true to some degree – wolves eat moose calves (as well as most other baby and young animals – especially elk), and adults when desperate.
But the wolves were introduced in 1995 and the moose population was in decline some years before that. The other moose-killer is humans in their automobiles, poaching – and habitat in decline. Addressing the last, biologists are also happy to report that willow habitats, aka Moose-brush, are looking healthy – and in better shape than surrounding areas to Jackson Hole. Read all about it at Jackson Hole’s Nature Mapping web site.
So come on to Jackson Hole to visit the moose. There are plenty of wildlife safari companies to take you an tours and, who knows, you might just see moose right in the middle of town. We’ve seen them right at the office of Massage professionals of Jackson Hole.
Hamish and Rochelle.