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YOU can help protect your national parks!

Help us reach our $401,000 goal by 12/31 so we can start 2015 strong defending them.

The national parks are yours.

Make your year-end, tax-deductible contribution to protect them today!

YOU can help protect your national parks!

Help us reach our $401,000 goal by 12/31 so we can start 2015 strong defending them.

The national parks are yours.

Make your year-end, tax-deductible contribution to protect them today!

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Photo: National Park Service

Moose

(Alces alces)

Moose

Factoid:

Moose are good swimmers and can move in the water at 6 miles per hour for as much as two hours at a time.

Status:

Stable.

Population:

Total population unknown.

Threats:

Moose once lived throughout most of the United States and Canada, but the species range has dwindled because of uncontrolled hunting for sport and food and because of land development. In the 19th century, ranchers shot them to reduce competition with livestock for food.

Survival:

Moose live up to 20 years.

Moose are the largest members of the deer family, about the size of a horse. They have thick coats of long, dark-brown hair, humped shoulders, and long thin legs. Their huge muzzles, big ears, and broad flat antlers, as well as their large size, set them apart from other members of the deer family. Both males and females also have a flap of skin called a bell that hangs beneath the throat. The bell is used for communication through the scents released from it. Their antlers, grown only by the bulls, can reach 4 to 5 feet from end to end. The record length is 6 feet 9 inches. Moose use their antlers to thrash brush, fight for mates, and root plants from the pond floor. The antlers are shed around November or December, after mating season has ended.

Males weigh 900 to 1,400 pounds and females 700 to 1,100 pounds. One or two calves are born every spring, and newborns weigh 24 to 35 pounds.

Cool weather seems to suit moose well. They inhabit spruce forests, swamps, and aspen and willow thickets throughout most of Canada, Maine, Minnesota, Alaska, and the Rocky Mountains in Utah and Colorado. They migrate seasonally up and down mountain slopes. They also enjoy wallowing in mud and water, especially when insects bother them during warm weather.

In summer, when moose hang around ponds and marshes, they eat willows and aquatic vegetation like water lily leaves. In the winter they eat mostly woody plants like twigs, buds, and the bark of willow, balsam, aspen, dogwood, birch, cherry, and maple trees.

Moose are generally shy animals and usually move away from humans. However, cows with calves may charge if they feel threatened, and bulls can be dangerous during the breeding season.

National Parks:

Moose are found in North Cascades National Park, WA; Rocky Mountain National Park, CO; Voyageurs National Park, MN; Kenai Fjords National Park, AK; Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, AK; Katmai National Park and Preserve, AK; Noatak National Preserve, AK; Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve, AK; Denali National Park and Preserve, AK; Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, AK; Isle Royale National Park, MI; Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve, AK; Bering Land Bridge National Preserve, AK; Aniakchak National Monument and Preserve, AK; Acadia National Park, ME; and the northern part of Appalachian National Scenic Trail, ME.

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