Researchers have issued a dire warning that moose could be largely absent from northeastern Minnesota after 2020 without stronger measures to address problems facing the iconic animal.
The Duluth News Tribune reports on the story HERE.
The researchers, members of the 2009 Moose Advisory Committee which was convened to help slow the animals’ decline, offered an unsolicited report to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources this week in an effort to raise awareness of the perilous state of the animal in Minnesota. Experts had thought, despite the declines, that the animals could persist in the region for another 50 years. Now, they worry about the fate of the ungulate beyond the end of the decade.
The northeastern Minnesota moose population, which was estimated at 8,000 just five years ago, is now thought to number just 4,900 animals.
The Minnesota DNR released its new moose management plan last month which included measures to limit or end hunting of the animal if populations continue to decline and also included habitat restoration projects, deer management changes, and deer feeding restrictions. Among the factors possibly causing the declines are chronic stress related to warmer summer and winter temperatures and the lethal effects of parasites transmitted by white-tailed deer such as brainworm and liver flukes.
The researchers praised many of the DNR’s efforts to date, but chided the agency for the time it took to develop its moose management plan and for the lack of visibility the agency has given to the issue.