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Fewer calves observed in Voyageurs National Park moose survey

A recent aerial survey of moose in Voyageurs National Park revealed an estimate of 40 moose, similar to estimates of 41 to 51 from 2009 through 2013, according to a park news release.  The park’s Kabetogama Peninsula is a 118-square mile roadless area that contains almost all of the park’s moose population. 

Fewer calves were observed in 2014 than in the previous three surveys, and the calf-to-cow ratio of .23 was also lower than estimates of .54 to .61 from 2010-2013. Two adult collared moose moved from the park into Ontario a few weeks before the survey began, and another died during the survey.

 Voyageurs National Park is at the current southern extent of moose range in North America.  Warmer annual and summer temperatures may be stressing moose populations in the region, according to park wildlife biologist Steve Windels.

The Northeastern Minnesota moose population declined by about 50 percent between 2006 and 2014. Ontario wildlife officials also have documented recent declines.  There are likely multiple factors involved in the observed declines including climate-related stresses on health and reproductive status, diseases and parasites, predation and changes in habitat.