Minnesota’s moose population has dropped by about half since 2005–a rate of decline that could lead to the animal disappearing from the state in 20 years. That’s earned the moose on a list of 591 animals, plants and insects deemed “species of special concern.”
According to an article in the Star Tribune, it’s a potential first step toward a designation as endangered. The animal’s population is still too high for that, but with moose dying twice as often as they should be, scientists are trying to figure out the reasons behind their decline.
Possible causes include higher summer temperatures that slow browsing and the spread of a parasite. A study of about 150 moose this winter aims to understand patterns in the population and develop a clearer understanding of what’s going on. Read the full article HERE.
The Department of Natural Resources created the state’s threatened species list in 1984. This was the first update to that list since 1996. According to an article in the L.A. Times, changes to the endangered list have been in the works for five years and won’t be finalized until a series of public hearings are held.