How do moose survive in winter?

An old friend returns home: the moose!

In recent years, sightings of the world's largest deer species that were once native to Germany have increased in this country. The first moose have already settled in Brandenburg for a long time. The animals immigrate from Poland or the Czech Republic. Most of them end up back there after searching for a partner in vain. In the Middle Ages, the species' habitat extended from the Alps to Finland. The elk disappeared from large parts of Central and Central Europe through settlement, deforestation, the decline of marshland and finally direct human persecution. Thanks to conservation efforts in our neighboring countries, the elk population is now recovering.

The moose as an "ecosystem engineer"

The moose is that largest representative of the deer family still alive today and impresses just by its size and mass. Male elk, in particular, can weigh up to half a ton and are over two meters high. It also gains its fascinating appearance from the long legs, the overhanging upper lip (called muffle) and the impressive shovel antlers weighing up to 20 kilograms.

As an “ecosystem engineer”, like all herbivores, it has a strong influence on its habitat. By selectively grazing certain plants, he has an effect on the vegetation. So the moose carries to one structured and heterogeneous forest where many other species find the conditions they need to survive. Thus, moose can make a positive contribution to biodiversity Afford.

This is what the WWF does to protect the elk

What most threatens the elk's survival

Habitat loss and fragmentation as Infectious diseases are still among the main causes of danger to moose. Also the traffic contributes significantly to the non-natural causes of death.

In addition, a new, man-made disaster could now threaten the species: the climate crisis.

Plants such as grasses, herbs, trees and shrubs suffer from the dry summers. As a result, cows elk cannot eat the energy they need for carrying and rearing the calves. First study results from Sweden show fewer and significantly lighter calves at birth down.

Also deadly pathogens and parasites could increasingly survive the ever milder winters in the future. In North America, moose are already dying more and more often from massive infestations by the winter tick. The long-term return of the elk to Germany is therefore necessary committed nature, climate and species protection.