A total of seven cow moose were darted and captured in the East Cabinet study area south of Libby this week and fitted with radio collars. According to FWP Research Technician Jesse Newby, biologists are looking at disease load, other measures of animal health, reproductive rates, and calf survival for the collared moose. This brings the total to 16 moose that are radio-collared in the East Cabinets area.
The East Cabinets consistently provide for harvest of roughly 15-25 moose annually. Concerns include disease, parasites, predation, lack of logging, and subsequent poor habitat.
“This is the continuation of a long term research effort to learn more about Montana moose ecology,” says Region One Wildlife Manager Jim Williams. “Another important aspect of the work is to refine our moose survey techniques to better reflect moose population trends.”
FWP contracted with Quicksilver, a helicopter-based team from Alaska, to capture the moose. Plum Creek Timber Inc. provided a helicopter to aid in spotting moose for the Quicksilver team.
“Good wildlife and good forest management often go hand in hand,” says Plum Creek biologist Lorin Hicks. “We share a common goal to find out more about how moose use forested habitats.”
FWP is conducting the moose study in light of decreasing moose populations and declining hunter opportunity. Biologists are working to capture additional moose in each of two other study areas that are part of the long-term research effort, the Big Hole and the East Front of the Rockies.
Contact: FWP Biologist Tonya Chilton-Radant, Libby, 293-4161, ext 209.
(Report by Montana FWP; Feature photo: wildandfreemontana.blogspot.com)