The remarkable - and perhaps unnatural - success of the moose (Alces alces shirasi) in Colorado, as evidenced by observations in iNaturalist

@muir @matthewinabinett @davidbygott @aguilita

The moose (Alces alces) was virtually absent from Colorado (, at the time in the late 1800's when there was general depletion of large mammals in North America.

The appropriate subspecies, reintroduced/introduced to Colorado about 45 years ago, has become common here, at the southern extreme of the distribution of the species in the world.

Please see and and and,to%20other%20parts%20of%20Colorado. and and and and and and and and

The population in Colorado is reported to have reached 3,000 in 2023. Hunting of this, the largest game animal in the state, is now routinely permitted.

What is particularly remarkable about this project is the degree to which it has been apparent to naturalists. The photos of the moose in Colorado, posted in iNaturalist, already exceed 3,000 (

This means that, in a sense, there is one photo for every individual of the moose in Colorado. How could both the moose and iNaturalist have been more successful?

However, this spectacular success is open to interpretation.

Is this a case of restoration of the natural occurrence of the moose, or an anthropogenic extension of the distribution of the species?

Comments from Readers would be welcome.

הועלה ב-ספטמבר 21, 2023 01:59 לפנה"צ על ידי milewski milewski


@milewski On a slightly unrelated note, there are subfossils of Cervalces latifrons known from Colorado. I wonder if the extinction of Cervalces in North America was due to the arrival of Alces alces in the end-Pleistocene.

פורסם על-ידי paradoxornithidae לפני 9 חודשים


Perhaps. However, C. latifrons was apparently larger than A. a. shirasi, and about the size of A. a. gigas. So the Holocene usurper was smaller than the Pleistocene species it replaced, suggesting that C. latifrons went extinct for other reasons (predation by Homo sapiens), and A. alces came in partly to fill the vacated niche.

פורסם על-ידי milewski לפני 9 חודשים

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