Moose Photographer Captures Majestic SpeciesThe first time Rick Libbey saw a moose, it was on a trip that a friend took him on to a remote cabin in the woods of Maine–something he had never done before, but that would change the course of his life.
“I saw my first moose and it just did something to me. I was struck by how big they are, and how confidently they look at you.”
Quietly waiting in his kayak for the majestic creatures, Libbey has a unique view of the moose. The moose also have a view of Libbey, but seem unconcerned with his careful and slow-moving presence. “Even in the midst of summer,” Libbey says, “the moose are getting ready for the winter and I do not want to send them crashing off.”
This year Libbey spent time watching one particular bull moose that he refers to as Sherman, as in “Sherman the tank.” The moose is a good 1,500 pounds, he estimates–a good 300 pounds larger than the other moose. Libbey explained that he loves the really big moose, which “just seem like old wise men–they just walk more slowly.”
These large moose, he describes, are generally quite healthy, which you can tell in part by their healthy coat of fur.
Moose Suffer From Warm Winters
Not all moose, however, are doing as well as those who live far north in Maine. Highly adapted to cold, in the summer moose suffer when temperatures are over 57 degrees F.
At the same time, winter tick populations can explode in New Hampshire and Minnesota in warm winters with a late first snowfall–to the point that many moose are simply overcome.
Libbey described seeing a small yearling bull moose in New Hampshire that had succumbed to ticks. “He was covered in globs of grape-sized ticks and they were just draining him. First we found his bed, and blood in the snow in his bed. Then we saw him. He died two weeks later.”
Take Action for Moose
While moose in New Hampshire and Minnesota were experiencing a heat wave and worsened parasites, moose in the mountains of Colorado were forced to flee forest fires blazing across their habitat. This summer’s drought, extreme heat, and the vast expanses of dead trees caused by pine beetle infestations fueled by climate change intensified the wildfires.