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Alberta Moose

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The Moose is the largest member of the deer family in the world. Bulls can weigh over 450 kg (1000 lb.) and stand 2.3 m (7.5 ft.) at the shoulder. Cows average about 350 kg (770 lb.). Moose are easily identified by their large size and dark coloration which varies from dark brown to black. Other distinguishing features of both sexes are the broad muzzle, shoulder hump and a loose fold of skin called a 'bell' which hangs under the throat. Bulls have broad, palm-like antlers that can measure as much as 1.8 m (6 ft.) from tip to tip, and together both may weigh up to 40 kg (88 lb.). In spite of their large size and ungainly appearance, moose can move through underbrush very quietly. Moose have acute senses of smell and hearing. Their sense of sight is poor. When alarmed, they will often trot away with long, smooth strides. The rut usually occurs from mid-September to mid-October. Calves are born the following spring. In Alberta, moose are common throughout most eco-regions, except for the prairie and parkland. In recent years, their numbers have been increasing in the parkland. Areas of preferred habitat include muskegs, brushy meadows and small groves of aspen or coniferous trees, particularly where such habitat adjoins lakes, ponds or streams. During the spring and summer, moose feed on aquatic plants and browse on the tender shoots of willow, birch and poplar. In the spring, moose also seek aspen bark, aquatic vegetation and minerals from natural salt licks. During the winter, moose browse near the edges of dense forests where there is less snow. The Alberta Fish and Wildlife Division estimates the provincial population (in Sept 2015.) to be about 118,000 animals. This estimate is based on population counts in selected areas and hunter harvest information. The largest threat to the moose population is road kills from vehicle collisions.

 (Text information was provided by Alberta Government Resource Development.)

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