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YUKON FLATS: Education is Cornerstone of Moose Management
Alaska Region, November 6, 2007
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A student in Circle, Alaska proudly displays her artwork with a key message about moose management during a school visit made by staff from the Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge and the Council of Athabascan Tribal Governments. (photo by Barry Whitehill/USFWS)
A student in Circle, Alaska proudly displays her artwork with a key message about moose management during a school visit made by staff from the Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge and the Council of Athabascan Tribal Governments. (photo by Barry Whitehill/USFWS) - Photo Credit: n/a
A Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge staff member is interviewed about moose management and education efforts on a locally broadcast talk radio program hosted by the Council of Athabascan Tribal Governments. (photo by: Mark Bertram/USFWS)
A Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge staff member is interviewed about moose management and education efforts on a locally broadcast talk radio program hosted by the Council of Athabascan Tribal Governments. (photo by: Mark Bertram/USFWS) - Photo Credit: n/a

Staff from the Yukon Flats Refuge in interior Alaska is working with the Yukon Flats-based Council of Athabascan Tribal Governments (CATG) and local residents to address low moose numbers in the area.  Moose density within Yukon Flats Refuge is low compared with similar habitats in interior Alaska.  In response to concerns from local residents about the availability of this key subsistence resource, Refuge and CATG staff are delivering messages about the probable causes of low moose numbers and encouraging actions to stop the trend.  While predators such as bears and wolves are one cause of moose mortality, the illegal harvest of cow moose is likely a significant factor limiting growth of the moose population.  The goal of education efforts is to reduce the harvest of cows through improved public understanding of moose ecology, population dynamics, predator-prey relationships, traditional hunting practices, and complex state and federal hunting regulations.

Various outreach efforts are targeted at residents of eight local communities including presentations to schools, talk radio programs, conversations with hunters and community leaders; and helping youth design a school mural about the cultural importance of moose and consequences of harvesting cows.  Community workshops are planned this spring to teach hunters about state and federal regulations.  Refuge staff are also developing an innovative moose education unit for local schools.   

Success of the Refuge‚Äôs moose management strategy also depends upon biological and law enforcement programs.  Refuge biologists are researching the impacts of local bear and wolf populations on moose.  Increased law enforcement on Yukon Flats Refuge will remind locals that compliance with regulations is essential for the moose population to grow.  On cornerstones of education, community collaboration, research, and law enforcement,  Refuge staff are building public support to restore a healthy moose population and provide opportunities for continued subsistence use by local residents.


Contact Info: Kristen Gilbert, 907-786-3391, Kristen_Gilbert@fws.gov



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