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August 27, 2014

DNR aims to put declining moose on watch list

Minnesota’s moose would be one of 67 animals added to the state’s official lists that track threatened and endangered species under a plan unveiled Monday by the Department of Natural Resources, the Duluth News Tribune reports.

Minnesota’s largest wild animal would become an official “species of concern” on the new list, the newspaper says.

The “species of concern” status would not immediately limit moose hunting. The status amounts to a first step toward “threatened” or “endangered,” classifications that would limit hunting.

The moose population in Minnesota has been in dramatic decline, the newspaper reports.

The DNR in a press release says it aims to remove 15 plants and 14 animals from Minnesota’s list of endangered, threatened and special concern species, and add 67 animals and 114 plants to the list. The changes would mark the first major update to problem species in Minnesota since 1996, the News Tribune says.

Under the DNR proposal (details here), the Minnesota endangered species list would soar from 439 species of plants, mammals, insects and other species to 591, the News Tribune says.

Five public hearings have been scheduled around the state in January and February.

In other news, the DNR has created a new website to draw attention to Minnesota bats struggling with White-nose Syndrome.