Unhinged Alaska

Blame it on Norway's moose

Posted: Sunday, September 30, 2007

I was scanning the Internet last week trying to find out the truth behind the claim that humanoids were a major cause of global warming.

I couldn't argue the fact that there are negative glaciers and ice packs located near Washington, D.C., where, for eons, massive clouds of toxic gases have been spewing forth from the orifices of politicians. What I wanted to establish was that it wasn't completely our fault and that other countries' pontificators share the blame.

What I discovered was startling and set me on the trail of a completely different expos.

The little country of Norway has revealed a surprising source of much of the pollution plaguing the Earth. It is the personification of the term, "silent but deadly." It is the sleazy and gas-fouled beasts known as moose. No kidding.

I immediately fired off the following inquiry to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to find out if they could or would confirm Norway's findings:

Dear F&G Personages,

I'm doing some really serious research for my next column. Unbelievably, I uncovered the following stunning press release. The Norwegian newspaper VG reports, "Norway's Moose Population in Trouble for Belching."

The poor old Scandinavian moose is now being blamed for climate change, with researchers in Norway claiming that a grown moose can produce 2,100 kilos of methane a year equivalent to the CO2 output resulting from a 13,000 kilometer car journey. Norway is concerned that its national animal, the moose, is harming the climate by emitting an estimated 2,100 kilos of gas a year through its belching and farting.

Norwegian newspapers, citing research from Norway's technical university, said a motorist would have to drive 13,000 kilometers in a car to emit as much as a moose does in a year.

Much like cows, bacteria in a moose's stomach create methane gas that is considered even more destructive to the environment than carbon gas. Norway has some 120,000, moose but an estimated 35,000 are expected to be killed in this year's moose hunting season, which starts on Sept. 25.

Needless to say I was shocked and began to mull over what threat the Alaskan moose may pose to our environment.

I'm confident the Alaska Fish and Game scientists must have some of their own stats or theories on what the Norwegians have found. So, Alaska F&G, do we have an ominous threat from moose flatulence in this state that might be the cause of the ice pack retreating and the permafrost to going funky?

How do the vast herds of caribou fit into this scenario? Don't forget the deer and elk. Come to think of it, bears aren't tidy either when it comes to bad breath and other emissions. I am overwhelmed. Any thoughts or references would be appreciated. I've already considered deporting my disgusting dog Howard. He could easily destroy the planet if additional fiber inadvertently slips into his diet.

Thank you for your time and expertise. I await your astute comments.

Note: Of course, you will only be quoted as a "government source."


An answer arrived quickly.

"Nick, if fish farted, I could comment, but furry creatures are not my field. So, I've passed your query on to ________________ (government source No. 2), one of our wildlife biologists, to address."

OK, _____________(original government source No. 1), you slipped out of that one but you have raised an interesting question that I haven't considered so far. Do fish fart? I've seen many a suspicious bubble pop to the surface of the ocean and some of my fishing holes. Maybe now I know why.

This could be explosive information. I shall ponder this conundrum while awaiting government source No. 2's answer.

The retort from government source No. 2 was as follows:

"Nick, thanks for staying on top of these hot issues. We scatter Bean-O tablets around our moose habitat so methane discharge is not a problem down here. However, just in case, never pull a moose's hoof."

I was impressed. So much so that I am forwarding the Alaska Fish and Game Bean-O plan immediately to the Norwegian Moose Flatulence and Belch Monitoring Commission before they call in a massive air raid on their remaining ungulates.

My personal suggestion is they round up a bunch of volunteers to follow their moose around and strike a match when the appropriate occasions arise. It's much cheaper than Bean-O.

Nick C. Varney can be reached at ncvarney@gmail.com. He swears this story is absolutely true. It must be. Even he couldn't make this stuff up.

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