Loss of early successional habitat, more wolves, and increased exposure to brainworm — those are the early theories on why the Minnesota moose population is plummeting. And that’s a whole lot of inference from just two dead moose.
The Duluth News Tribune has an update on the moose study begun by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources in January. The DNR tagged 111 moose and planned to follow them for five years — deploying a team to investigate whenever one of the moose died. (We covered it here.)
So far six moose have died, the article says. Four of those deaths have been pinned on capture-related mortality. The percentage is about average for moose captures, the article says.
The two other moose were killed by wolves. The article reports on another researcher in conducting a separate study who found that one of his wolf-killed moose had pneumonia.
There are many more details about the early days of the study in the article. Read the Duluth News Tribune article here.
Photo: A moose being collared, but not necessarily for this project. Courtesy of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources