NPR : News

Filed Under:

Minnesota's Moose Mystery: What's Killing Them?

In northeastern Minnesota, moose are dying at an alarming rate and state officials are having difficulty determining why.

And though hunters are not part of the problem, the state announced Wednesday that there will be no moose hunting season this coming fall.

"There's just a plummeting population here," state Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Tom Landwehr said, according to our colleagues at Minnesota Public Radio. Officials want to do what they can to protect the remaining moose as they continue to search for an explanation of their decline.

According to the DNR:

"Based on the aerial survey conducted in January, the new population estimate is 2,760 animals, down from 4,230 in 2012. The population estimate was as high as 8,840 as recently as 2006."

That means the number of moose has dropped nearly 70 percent since 2006.

The Duluth News-Tribune writes that "biologists don't know exactly what's killing Minnesota's moose. While climate change is considered a factor, moose also die from disease, parasites and predation. But in recent studies, the cause of moose mortality is listed as unknown in about 75 percent of research cases."

The Associated Press says that "data from previous studies suggest that predation by wolves and bears has only a small effect on the adult moose population."

State officials are going to great lengths to try to figure out what's happening. Minneapolis' KARE-TV was with researchers last week as:

"From a chopper, they shot moose with a tranquilizer dart rendering the beasts immobile for about 20 minutes. Once the moose were sedated, scientists took blood and hair samples. They also inserted a state-of-the-art implant that the moose swallowed. It monitors their heart and internal body temperature.

"Finally, researchers placed a collar on the animals that will track their every move, most importantly sending an alert to researchers when they have died. That's how this is different from other collaring efforts. The DNR will now be able to get to the moose within 24 hours before decay and scavengers take hold."

In total, Minnesota Public Radio adds, researchers have put collars on 100 moose.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Texas Bookseller Picks 3 Summer Reads

Julia Green of Front Street Books recommends Moonlight on Linoleum by Terry Helwig, City of Women by David R. Gillham and The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly.
NPR

He Used To Live On The Streets Of Mumbai. Now, His Cafe Welcomes Everyone

Amin Sheikh's new cafe is a rarity in class-stratified India: It's open to people from all walks of life. Sheikh is a former street child, and so are many of his employees.
NPR

For Many Black Voters, Trump's 'What Do You Have To Lose?' Plea Isn't Enough

Donald Trump promises to help bring jobs and security to black neighborhoods. But his poll numbers with African-Americans are in the low single digits, and many say his message is insulting.
WAMU 88.5

A Cyber-Psychologist Explains How Human Behavior Changes Online

Dr. Mary Aiken, a pioneering cyber-psychologist, work inspired the CBS television series "CSI: Cyber". She explains how going online changes our behavior in small and dramatic ways, and what that means for how we think about our relationship with technology.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.