Moose are massive animals. Averaging six feet tall and weighing 1,000 pounds, they’re the largest members of the deer family. But even these mega-mammals can’t stand up to the ticks, other parasites, and unpredictable winters across the northern United States. From Maine to Montana, moose populations are shifting, and scientists are trying to figure out why.
Minnesota might be missing moose the most. In just 10 years, their population in the state has been cut by more than half—from about 8,100 in 2005 to just 3,500 in 2015. “It’s below what’s sustainable,” says Ron Moen, a moose scientist at the University of Minnesota Duluth.