Governor ends DNR moose collaring

Daily Editorial Board

Despite a slight uptick in the number of collared moose surviving in 2014, Gov. Mark Dayton has put a three-year Minnesota Department of Natural Resources moose research effort to an end after deciding that the benefits of the research did not outweigh its consequences.
To track both calves and adult moose, researchers fitted them with GPS devices. However, it was recently found that research involving collars resulted in about one-quarter of the calves to be abandoned by their mothers as well as multiple adults dying. 
A DNR survey released in February estimated that there are about 3,540 moose left throughout Minnesota. This is a far cry from the more than 8,800 moose that populated the state in 2006. While this discouraging trend is clear, the reason for it is not.
There are likely numerous factors affecting the population, including heat stress, shorter winters and parasites like ticks and brain worms. These factors — fueled by climate change — coupled with occasional hunting and loss of their forest habitat have likely played a large role in the decimation of the population.
We are pleased with Dayton’s decision to restrict this type of research that has been linked with numerous moose deaths. However, we acknowledge the further research is needed as moose continue dying off. We urge both the DNR and Dayton to come to a compromise to find out what the problem is without contributing to it.