Dean Beyer is a wildlife research biologist for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and is in charge of the moose population study in the U.P.Beyer
said the major goal of the moose project was a herd that could survive on its own in the Western U.P.He
said this goal has been achieved.
,Our goal was to have a self-sustaining moose population and we have that,, Beyer
Another goal of the project was to have the moose population reach 1,000 animals by the year 2000.This goal was not met.Beyer
said while the original population goal was certainly possible, the U.P. moose herd would have had to experience a high growth rate.Beyer
said on average, a moose herd on experiences a 5-10 percent growth rate.He
said the U.P. moose herd is growing at the average rate. ,We've got a positive growth rate with our herd,, he
said three factors cause the populations of wild animals to change in number: births, deaths and immigration/ emigration (dispersal).The combination of these factors is called population dynamics, Beyer
The DNR is currently finishing a cooperative six-year study with Michigan State University
to determine the population dynamics of the moose herd.The study's other objective is to develop a reliable herd population estimation technique called a ,sightablity model,, Beyer
said the new sightability model will be implemented next year to try to reach a reliable population estimate and find out the proper growth rate for the herd. ,A new objective will be to see what's reasonable potential for growth for this population,, he
ruled out three factors which didn't play a major role in the moose herd's population dynamics: poaching, moose/car accidents and wolves. Beyer
said in the last decade, there have been very few incidents of poaching. ,It doesn't appear to be a factor,, he
There are on average zero to three moose-car accidents a year across the U.P., Beyer
said this wouldn't have a large effect on the population.
Despite wolves' negative image, Beyer
said there has only been one documented case of a wolf preying on a moose.Beyer
said the particular animal had been previously diagnosed with a brain worm which made it, ,predisposed to predation.,Beyer
said one animal, Cow 26, is only moose alive from the original translocation in 1985. ,She
was an adult in 85' and she's
still out there,, he
said moose can survive into their early 20's.