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Moose that wandered to southern Minnesota had a brain worm, DNR says

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The big moose that wandered far from Minnesota's north woods created quite a stir down by Sleepy Eye in November.

So when the bull was found dead in the yard of a farmhouse, biologists looked into the cause.

Friday the Department of Natural Resources announced a University of Minnesota lab found the moose had a brain disease carried by a parasite.

Moose can travel great distances – but they're usually not pointed south. DNR wildlife research manager Lou Cornicelli tells KSTP it's likely that the brain disease contributed to this one losing its way.

While the death of this particular moose may have been solved, the broader demise of Minnesota's herd is still somewhat mysterious.

The DNR says more than half of the state's moose have died since 2010 and the agency hopes a study using radio collars to track dozens of the survivors will help explain the mortality.

The blitz of publicity that followed the moose's sighting put Sleepy Eye in a spotlight and led to an obituary (of sorts) on the Sleepy Eye Herald Dispatch's opinion page in November.

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