In an on-going effort to understand the reasons behind decline in Minnesota’s moose population, a study using global positioning system technology to track the massive ungulates is underway.
The Duluth News Tribunes‘ John Myers has an interesting, firsthand story, HERE, about what the project entails.
Using helicopters and tranquilizer darts, researchers are affixing GPS collars to moose across Northeastern Minnesota. The collars will tell scientists the exact location of each animal at 20-minute intervals. A pilot study using the technology began last year with 21 animals, and researchers hope to expand the study to include 160 animals during the course of the multi-year project.
Experts estimated last year that 5,500 moose reside in Northeastern Minnesota, the lowest population during what has been a steady 13-year decline in numbers. Among factors possibly causing the decline are chronic stress related to warmer summer and winter temperatures and lethal effects of parasites transmitted by white-tailed deer such as brainworm and liver flukes.