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Moose study: High mortality rate among calves expected

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Since researches from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources completed collaring 49 moose calves as part of a larger study, nearly half have died, the Duluth News Tribune reports.

The study that also entailed capturing and collaring more than 100 adult moose launched last winter to determine why northeast Minnesota's moose population is declining so rapidly.

The moose were also fitted with implant transmitters which notify researchers via text message when a moose dies along with coordinates for finding the carcass and a log of vital statistics.

Studies worldwide have already concluded that just over half of all moose calves die within their first year of life from predators, disease or other causes, according to the newspaper.

Of the 22 calves that died since being collared, 15 were picked up so researches can find our what killed them. Researchers determined at least eight of the calves died from the trauma of being captured.

Nine were eaten by predators, typically wolves and black bears.

Glenn DelGiudice, the department's lead moose researcher, says what happens after the summer and into next winter, as the remaining calves survive their first year, that will be most telling in the effort to learn why Minnesota’s moose population is crashing.

The newspaper reports 14 of the 107 adult collared moose have died from various causes such as parasitic brainworm or anemia.

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