On June 2, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) issued a 90-day finding that listing populations of the Northwestern moose (Alces alces andersoni) under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) may be warranted. The Service’s 90-day finding is in response to a petition filed in July 2015 by the Center for Biological Diversity and Honor the Earth, which asked that the moose be listed as a threatened or endangered distinct population segment (DPS).
The U.S. population of Northwestern moose inhabits the upper peninsula of Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin. In recent years, the U.S. population of moose has suffered significant declines due to climate change, habitat degradation, and disease, among other factors. In Minnesota alone, the species suffered approximately a 60 percent decline in the past decade. The Center for Biological Diversity’s petition requests that the moose populations in northern Minnesota, northeast North Dakota, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and Isle Royale be listed under the ESA as a DPS.
Based on the Service’s finding that listing of the moose as a DPS may be warranted, the Service is commencing a 12-month status review of the species. Moose populations in the Northeast, Rocky Mountains, and Alaska are not included in the Service’s status review. Comments on the Service’s finding will be accepted until August 2, 2016.