Duluth, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) - Minnesota’s moose population in northeastern Minnesota continues to decline, according to results of an aerial survey released by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
The survey results show lower moose numbers and the proportion of cows accompanied by calves continued a 14-year decline, dropping to a record low of 24 calves per 100 cows.
Moose numbers are estimated using an aerial survey of the northeastern Minnesota moose range.
Based on the survey, wildlife researchers estimate the current population at 49-hundred moose in northeastern Minnesota compared to an estimated 55-hundred last year.
Since 2005, the downward trend has been statistically significant according to DNR experts.
A study of radio-collared moose in northeastern Minnesota between 2002 and 2008 determined that nonhunting mortality was substantially higher than in moose populations outside of Minnesota.
Little is known about the causes of moose mortality but the experts believe the drop in population may be due in large part to diseases or parasites.
The Legislative-Citizen Commission on Natural Resources has recommended funding a study beginning in 2012 that would concentrate on identifying factors responsible for high death rate.
More information is available from the aerial survey on the DNR's web site.