A Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) study will fit 100 moose with GPS collars and implant a second device that can record temperature and heartbeat in 27 of the collared moose, a Minnesota DNR press release reports.
The goal of the study is to shed light on the mysterious decline of moose in the northern part of the state. From the press release:
“The decline in the northeast Minnesota moose population is exhibiting the same pattern of decline that we observed in the northwest,” said Lou Cornicelli, DNR wildlife research manager. “We’re losing about 20 percent of adult moose annually and know from previous studies that predation and hunting are not the primary causes of adult moose mortality. The decline is particularly troubling because more often than not, we can’t determine the primary cause of death.”
The study will collar 75 cows and 25 bull moose. When a collar stops moving for more than six hours (that twice the length of the average moose nap, notes an article in the Duluth News Tribune) the collar will send a text to DNR researchers so that the moose can be necropsied within 24 hours. The collared moose will be tracked for six years.
Read the detailed Minnesota DNR press release here.
Read the Duluth News Tribune article, which has some additional details and punchy quotes, here.
Watch Ericka Butler, DNR wildlife veterinarian, discuss the project on the Northlands NewsCenter website, here.
See more info on Minnesota’s moose research here, including a link to a five-page list of additional moose research projects.
Photo: A moose being collared, but not necessarily for this project. Courtesy of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources