On July 9, 2015, Honor the Earth and The Center for Biological Diversity filed a legal petition seeking federal Endangered Species Act protection for a subspecies of moose found in the Midwest. Climate change, habitat degradation, and disease have driven a nearly 60% drop in Minnesota’s moose population in the last ten years.
Moose declines are particularly severe in Minnesota, with only an estimated 3,500 moose surviving there today. Scientists have warned the animals will be nearly extirpated from Minnesota within five years if the trend is not reversed; they are already almost gone from northwestern Minnesota. Moose are built to live in cold environments with thick insulating fur to survive freezing temperatures and long legs and wide feet to move easily through deep snow. Rising temperatures and decreasing snowfall put moose at increased risk of overheating, which leads to malnutrition and lowers their immune systems, while ticks and other pathogens thrive in a warming climate.
“Native people and the moozoog — our Ojibwe word — have coexisted for thousands of years in Anishinaabe akiing,” said Winona LaDuke, executive director of Honor the Earth. “The destruction of habitat by mining and logging industries, as well as overharvesting, is destroying this relative. Any listing should include a full coordination with tribal governments and First Nations, in keeping with the treaty agreements. Our culture is tied to the moozoog and we will work to protect them