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Moose Mortality Study Continues, Population Drop Still a Mystery

Created: 02/11/2014 10:52 PM WDIO.com

The Minnesota DNR is collaring more moose for a study to find out why the herd is disappearing in the Arrowhead.

A helicopter crew is flying through Superior National Forest to attach GPS collars to 36 moose, replacing moose that died or weren't suitable for the study.

The study has already been ongoing for a year, but there is still much more work to do.

"We have three years that we are trying to maintain our sample size of 100 animals, but with the life of the collars we're really looking at a 7-8 year project," said Michelle Carstensen, supervisor of the DNR's Wildlife Health Program. "Through that time we're going to gain a lot more understanding of the causes of mortality and capture year- to-year variation."

But experts are looking beyond just moose themselves to determine why the iconic animal is disappearing. They're applying a multi-faceted approach.

"There's a wolf project as it relates to wolf, moose, and deer, there's a tick study, there's all sorts of studies that are going on concurrently all trying to get at this same problem," said Lou Conicelli, a Wildlife Research Program manager with the DNR. "At some point and time they will all come together with hopefully management recommendations."

But as of yet, the Minnesota DNR says there isn't enough data to answer with certainty why Minnesota's moose population has dropped 52 percent since 2010.

To read more about the moose mortality study, click here.

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