Minnesota moose population in danger

The Minnesota moose population is in free fall, according to recent reports. Scientists are preparing us for the possibility that Minnesota might one day soon lose its moose population entirely.

The cause is not over-hunting. Rather, moose mortality and pregnancy rates are being affected. Biologists in this Duluth News Tribune article say that a generally warmer climate in the region has reduced the amount of instinctual feeding by the animals, which has made them thinner and more susceptible to disease and parasites. Most of the collared moose in a recent study died of nonspecific natural causes, believed to be disease and parasites.

When I was growing up in northern Minnesota in the ’80s and ’90s it was not uncommon to see a moose walking through a field or a quiet stand of timber. I remember my parents advising me not to approach moose as a small child, because they are more aggressive than deer. The last moose I saw with my own eyes was quite a few years ago now, in the early 2000s I think. There was a pair seen down our dusty old country road before we built our house, but they haven’t been seen since. Odds would suggest that pair did not fare well.

Moose, or moos, is a word adopted directly from the native populations of this region, with rough equivalents found in many Algonquian tongues including that of the local Anishinabe peoples.

Photo: Creative Commons, Stewart Robotham


  1. By most accounts the moose population in Maine is doing comparatively well. I’ve been following this story pretty closely, with a mix of befuddlement and dismay. It would not surprise me if part of the blame lay with one or more parasites endemic to our region. Regardless of whether that is the case, mild winters aren’t helping any.

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