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NOWITNA:Moose Population Estimate
Alaska Region, April 8, 2009
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Image:  Map of the survey area covered by the 2008 moose population estimation survey, encompassing all of the Nowitna National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska.
Image: Map of the survey area covered by the 2008 moose population estimation survey, encompassing all of the Nowitna National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska. - Photo Credit: n/a

In November 2008, Koyukuk NWR worked with three other agencies to conduct a large scale moose population estimate in Game Management Unit 21B.  All of the Nowitna Refuge was included in the survey area.  Pooled funding and logistical support  from the Bureau of Land Management, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Alaska State Troopers and the USFWS made it possible to fly 300 hours of surveys and sample 244 units in the nearly 8600 mi2 survey area.  We estimated that there are 2300 (+ 400) moose in the survey area.

Approximately 1400 moose were in a 4700 mi2 subsection of the study area which had been surveyed in 2001. This was a substantial decrease from the 2001 estimate of 3100 moose, but the earlier survey had poorer precision (+ 42% vs. + 18% this year).  The bull:cow and calf:cow ratios observed during the survey were both very healthy at 49 per 100 cows.  There were 12 yearling bulls per 100 cows, indicating good recruitment.  Overall density of moose in the survey area was low (0.27 moose per mi2.)  The highest densities were observed in the lower portion of the Nowitna River drainage. 

Moose surveys such as this population estimate and less intensive annual surveys have proven critical to making sound management decisions and informing the public at Regional Advisory Council meetings and State Advisory Committee meetings.


Contact Info: Karin Lehmkuhl, (907) 656-1231, karin_lehmkuhl@fws.gov



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