Dakota County Parks is partnering with the Minnesota Zoo to provide food for their captive moose population by donating sustainably harvested quaking aspen trees from Lebanon Hills Regional Park. Trees throughout the park will removed from 2017-2019.
Harvesting quaking aspens is beneficial to park habitats
Dakota County will contain removal efforts of quaking aspens to where they are encroaching into ranges they are not wanted such as prairies or to areas where it is beneficial to thin the aspens to promote a more diverse woodland.
Quaking aspen is the most abundant tree in Minnesota.
A perfect food source for moose
Quaking aspen bark is one of the primary sources of protein for moose throughout the winter. Its soft bark, high-protein content and abundance make it an ideal species for moose to eat.
Moose is not a common species in North American zoos. However, zoos can provide a great home for them. Moose born in zoos and wild orphans that are brought to zoos have twice the survival rate of moose calves that are born and remain in the wild.
One of the main challenges with caring for moose (calves) in a zoo setting is their intolerance of foods served to other species in the deer family in zoo facilities such as alfalfa, grass and grain. However, zookeepers have found that a diet of tree and shrub leaves and stems, such as quaking aspen, is much healthier for the moose in their care.
Possible trail closures
There will be potential for temporary trail closures throughout the project time period as trees are removed.
If you have any questions about the project, please contact Meghan Manhatton at firstname.lastname@example.org.