Some peninsula moose could have long winter

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KENAI, Alaska (AP) — It could be a bad winter for moose on parts of the Kenai Peninsula, state game officials said.

Alaska Fish and Game biologist Thomas McDonough said moose should be in peak condition this time of year, but that doesn't appear to be the case on some parts of the Kenai Peninsula, the Peninsula Clarion reported (http://is.gd/v7tcZU).

Thirty-four moose collared in Game Management Unit 15A, which spans most of the northern peninsula, are showing lower levels of fat and muscle content. He says that's bad news for moose since that part of the peninsula doesn't offer a lot of winter food for moose.

"When animals go through a winter when food is limited, they not only burn up fat but they can metabolize protein, or muscle, as well," he said.

The overall moose population could suffer if fewer calves are born, Fish and Game Kenai Area Wildlife Biologist Jeff Selinger earlier told the Clarion.

McDonough recently spent three weeks recapturing cows in 15A and in unit 15C, which covers the southwestern portion of the peninsula. This was part of an ongoing state study, which examines moose survival and reproduction rates to potentially justify future predator control measures.

The latest survey of the moose population in 15A, conducted in 2008, counted between 1,825 to 2,352 moose.

The 2010 census in unit 15C counted between 2,642 and 3,196 moose.

McDonough said 35 moose were recaptured in 15C within the last month. These moose were in better condition.

He'll present his finding at the state Board of Game meeting in March.

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Information from: (Kenai, Alaska) Peninsula Clarion, http://www.peninsulaclarion.com

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