MDIFW: Maine’s wildlife expected to be fine after Hurricane Sandy
Augusta — The majority of Maine residents were able to weather the effects of Hurricane Sandy and avoid serious storm damage, and the same is expected to hold true for the state’s wildlife species.
While wildlife species did not have the advantage of staying updated on the storm’s progress from media outlets and public officials, many species are innately able to adapt to harsh weather and know to find shelter when it approaches.
The storm brought strong winds and rain to Maine, but is not thought to have caused enough damage to have any significant effects on wildlife such as moose, deer, bear, birds or fish.
“If we had experienced heavy flooding that lasted a few days, it may have been an issue, but moose and deer are typically able to handle storms like this without a problem,” said biologist Lee Kantar. “From what I have seen, they should be just fine.”
Bears usually will wait out storms in the relative safety of tree tops, especially when high winds make it difficult for them to sense danger.
During this time of year, most bears across the state already are in dens. Even if their den was flooded, bears would have time now to relocate to a dryer and safer den before deep snow falls.
The storm’s extremely low pressure system would have alerted birds to the impending weather, causing them to find a safe shelter to hunker down in.
The weather pattern would have also stopped southward migration that is on-going or caused migrating birds to fly around it.
The department’s bird biologists do plan to monitor beaches hit by the storm to determine if significant beach habitat erosion occurred, especially in areas where piping plovers typically set up nests.
Luckily, the plovers already have migrated south for the winter to warmer locations such as South Carolina, Florida, the Gulf of Mexico and should be able to adapt to any changes in Maine’s beaches when they return to nest.
When it comes to fish species, they are well suited to deal with periodic episodes of high water and it is unlikely that we will see any long-term impacts for fish from the storm.
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