Northern Minnesota moose meta-crisis

GRAPHIC: @MinnesotaBrown

GRAPHIC: @MinnesotaBrown

Dan Kraker of Minnesota Public Radio reports on efforts to find out why Minnesota moose populations have been in serious decline in recent years. The problem has caused the indefinite suspension of the Minnesota moose hunting season and a series of studies as to why so many moose are dying young.

Ironically, one of the big challenges in researching this problem is monitoring live moose in ways that don’t cause terrified moose mothers to abandon their calves. At least nine moose calves in one study died in just such a fashion.

I love this line from Kraker’s story for all the wrong reasons:

The mothers often fled as soon as they heard the helicopter approach, DelGiudice said. That was surprising.

Other new measures include approaching the moose in teams of two (instead of four) and simply slipping a tracking collar onto calves (instead of spending four minutes doing diagnostic research that probably closely resembled disembowelment to a terrified mother who just recently learned that THERE ARE GIANT METAL CHOP CHOP DEATH BIRDS IN THIS WORLD!!!!)

Science marches on.

We may have a moose reference or two when we’re up in Ely this Saturday, June 14 for my Great Northern Radio Show.


  1. It surprised me to hear how the collaring protocol resembled a commando raid/alien invasion. Specifically, I’m not sure the anal probe is entirely necessary.

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