NOTES

Hunting pressure changes moose genes

Hunting pressure may affect moose populations in a negative way, researchers say.

“We can almost say that predators improve wild populations, by taking the weakest animals – while we humans do the opposite by taking out the strongest,” says Erling Solberg, a senior researcher at the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA) to forskning.no.

Predators choose the weakest animals because they are easiest to catch. People often go for trophies, and will therefore go after bull  moose with large antlers. This selection will have consequences for generations afterwards.

Researchers from NINA, NTNU and the Norwegian School of Veterinary Science have been studying  genetic variation in the Norwegian moose population since 2007 to see how hunting affects the genetic structure of a moose population.