Moose (Alces alces) are the largest member of the deer family. They, along with caribou, are the only members of the deer family in the Lake Clark area. Moose are found below treeline in transition areas between forest and tundra, between aquatic and terrestrial environments, and in areas that have been burned or disturbed.
An adult male (bull) moose can weigh as much as 1,600 pounds and females (cows) can reach 1,300 pounds. They have extremely long legs that enable them to wade into lakes and rivers and through deep snow. Their hair ranges from golden brown to nearly black and they have a very large head with a dewlap of skin, called a "bell," under the chin. Only the bulls have antlers which are shed each winter after the mating season.
Moose breed in the fall and one to three calves are born in May or June. The diet of moose varies widely between the seasons. During the fall and winter, moose consume large quantities of willow, birch, and aspen twigs. In the spring and summer they eat sedges, horsetail, grasses and aquatic vegetation.
Park wildlife biologists regularly conduct surveys of moose in the interior of the park and preserve and have found the populations have been on the decline since the late 1990s.
Did You Know?
The glaciers of the last ice age retreated from Lake Clark National Park and Preserve 14,000 years ago, and the earliest archeological evidence of people in the park is about 10,000 years old.