Study: Moose move toward humans for safety

Oct. 10, 2007 at 3:32 PM
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NEW YORK, Oct. 10 (UPI) -- U.S. researchers said moose in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem move instinctively toward humans to gain safety while giving birth.

The Wildlife Conservation Society study suggested moose move toward highways and other areas in which humans are present to avoid predators and protect their young.

Researchers tracked both moose and bears and found pregnant moose in Greater Yellowstone have shifted their movements each year for the past decade about 400 feet closer to roads during calving season, apparently to avoid road-shy brown bears, which prey on moose calves.

"Given that brown bears avoid areas within approximately 1,600 feet of roads in Yellowstone and elsewhere, moose mothers have apparently buffered against predation on offspring using roadside corridors," said WSC biologist Joel Berger, the study’s author.

"The study's results indicate moose and other prey species find humans more benign and hence move to humans for safety, whereas predators do not because we humans tend to be less kind to predators," Berger added.

He said the study also suggested national parks aren't necessarily just showcases of natural ecosystems but can also affect natural biological events.

The research appears in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters.

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