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Slight increase in northeast Minnesota's moose population

There are continued signs the previously reported moose decline has plateaued.

Minnesota's moose population continues to recover from sharp declines seen a decade ago.

Northeast Minnesota experienced a significant downturn in the moose population particularly between 2009 and 2012.

Around 8,840 of the animals were recorded in 2006, but by 10 years later that number had fallen by more than half.

That's why it's a good sign that the DNR's 2019 aerial moose survey estimated around 4,180 moose in the northeastern part of the state, which "reflects a 90 percent certainty that the moose population is between 3,250 and 5,580 animals."

Last year, only around 3,030 moose were estimated. The DNR says that moose numbers are "statistically unchanged" for the 8th year in a row, a sign of a stabilized population.

The DNR says that there are signs female moose are calving, but not enough are living a full year, with the calf survival rate from birth in spring to the following January said to be "stable but consistently low."

"We know from our research that adult female moose are getting pregnant,” said Glenn DelGiudice, DNR moose and deer project leader, in a press release. 

"The problem is there aren’t enough female moose that are successfully producing calves and raising them to one year. That’s a significant challenge in our efforts to maintain Minnesota’s moose population."

Despite the slight uptick in the population, DelGiudice says the animals' future in Minnesota remains uncertain, with the state's moose still at risk from disease, infection and wolves.

Wolves account for about two-thirds of moose calf deaths, the DNR notes.

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