Stories of moose, wolves and hummingbirds draw readers
Why the moose population hasn’t grown is a complex question scientists are grappling with in the Adirondack region.
Researchers estimate up to 900 moose residing in the region, and the herd seems to be healthy, but scientists want to know why there aren’t more, like in neighboring states. Is it because of the habitat, amount of available food, or perhaps parasites?
To get more answers, researchers are studying ailments that target moose such as liver fluke and brain worm, and they’re trying to figure out what is killing young moose. We covered that issue in a pair of articles, one in late winter and another in the fall.
Return on the wolf?
While the moose have returned to the region, one major predator that used to live here hasn’t. Wolves disappeared from New York in the late 1800s because they were targeted by government bounties and hunters.
Their population never returned but some wolves, believed to be dispersers from other populations, have shown up in New York and neighboring northeastern states. Most recently, in December 2021, a hunter in Cherry Valley, about 25 miles south of the Blue Line, killed a wolf.
While the state is still determining if the animal was wild or captive, wildlife advocates have pointed to the incident as a reason why the state should be proactive in protecting wolves that may be traveling here from the Great Lakes region or in Canada, where populations exist in places like Algonquin Park, just 120 miles northwest of New York.
Sticking with the rewilding theme, we once again covered the management of Atlantic salmon in the Lake Champlain watershed, where a number of nonprofit organizations and government agencies are working to restore the wild populations.
In January, we covered the efforts of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife, which is using genetic tagging as a means of tracking salmon heading upstream into Champlain’s tributaries. This non-invasive method is part of a multi-year study to understand whether the fish are migrating upstream and reproducing.
One of the keys to allowing the fish to move upstream is removing obstacles, such as dams. This year it was a small dam in Reber, restoring access to miles to traditional spawning grounds.
This salmon coverage was part of our continuing coverage of cold-water fish. But, over the years, we have also dedicated a lot of time to studying trout and how native brookies and lakers are losing habitat.
Other interesting wildlife coverage this year, including a question-and-answer session with a birder who bands ruby-throated hummingbird at Crown Point and other places. Gwendolyn Craig also wrote an article about how biologists are using trail cameras throughout the park and Northeast to keep tabs on wildlife. — Mike Lynch