From the December 2007 Conservationist
Moose Numbers on the Rise
Moose numbers are growing exponentially in New York, with roughly 500 moose in the northern part of the state. That's up from the estimated 50-100 moose a decade ago and a handful of sporadic sightings in the 1980s.
As their population has grown in New England and Canada, Alces alces, or the North American moose, have moved into New York. Their advancement has come as a revelation to scientists such as Chuck Dente, a DEC big game biologist. When the state began documenting sightings in the 1980s, there was no certainty that the moose would stay-much less grow in numbers. Even if they did stay, biologists thought it would take decades to reach such a large population.
"Basically, it kind of surprised us that these animals were taking to New York," Dente said. "Somewhere along the way they proved everyone wrong. They have adapted quite well."
Reports of wandering moose have become annual events-just recently a young male tramped through Troy, swam across the Hudson River, and moseyed to a backyard in Waterford. DEC officials later tranquilized and relocated him to the wilderness.
By October 5, the state had recorded at least 12 moose-automobile collisions - a record even before the start of breeding season, when the animals are most active.
Rocking the Environment
Concerned about the fact that their tours have a large "carbon footprint," some national bands are working to "green" their traveling shows. They are buying carbon credits to offset their airline miles, hiring bio-diesel buses to cut down on their road emissions, and working to recycle and compost the waste from their catered meals.
This summer, DEC participated in aiding two band's efforts at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. John Mayer and Incubus offered DEC opportunities to distribute information and encourage concert goers to recycle, implement other good environmental practices, and sign up to receive email updates about conservation from the bands.
DEC staff working at the events got a chance to give thousands of music fans an environmental message. Incubus also sought DEC's advice on handling their recyclables and compostables when their special containers were left in New Jersey. They used the DEC-recommended brown paper bags for the rest of their 2007 "Light Grenades" tour. For more information, visit Make Yourself Foundation on the web at www.makeyourselffoundation.org.
Environmental Conservation Officer Thomas Harrington was recently named "Officer of the Year" by the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association (NYSRPA). Harrington is a 19-year veteran.
NYSRPA recognizes one ECO each year, acknowledging the important role ECOs play in hunter education and safe firearms usage among sportsmen and women and youth.
ECO Harrington was responsible for the arrest of two subjects who were jacking deer in Otsego County. The investigation involved the illegal hunting of at least 18 deer which were recovered after being shot and left along roads. It was one of the largest jacking cases in state history, with dozens of additional deer believed to have been shot over the course of a three-week period.
Harrington has also been a driving force in the development of a youth pellet shoot at the Otsego County Fair, and in addition has volunteered many hours on the design and development of a portable target shooting trailer which is used throughout Otsego County.