By MATTHEW HALL
Capital News Service
LANSING – A national trend in moose die-offs may be hitting the Upper Peninsula – and climate change may be the culprit, experts say. More parasites, disease, habitat destruction and heat stress are all suggested as reasons stemming from warmer weather. Moose numbers studied in the western U.P. between 1997 and 2007 showed a growth rate of about 10 percent a year – a promising trend since moose were reintroduced there in the 1980s, said Dean Beyer, a Marquette-based moose expert with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). However, that rate has slowed to about 2 percent since then. Other states have experienced significant drops in moose population since the 1990s, with one Minnesota herd dropping from 4,000 to 100 in that time.