Saturday, February 9, 2013

Moose, wolves to be collared for Voyageurs park studies

Larger view  

A collared moose cow rests just outside the boundary of Voyageurs National Park on Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013. (Steve Foss for MPR

by Tom Robertson, Minnesota Public Radio
February 8, 2013

BEMIDJI, Minn. — Biologists at Voyageurs National Park are preparing to capture and collar moose and wolves this month as part of two separate wildlife studies.

State and federal researchers want to know why moose are dying in Minnesota. A recent state Department of Natural Resources survey of moose in the Arrowhead region of the northeast showed a 52 percent decline in the population since 2010.

Voyageurs wildlife biologist Steve Windels said moose numbers in and around Voyageurs National Park appear to be more stable. About 50 moose live in the area.

The moose collaring effort could begin as early as next week. Biologists plan to put GPS collars on six adult female moose and track them over the next five years. It's a continuation of a study launched a few years ago focusing on moose habitat and how the animals react to climate change.
Windels said the next phase will look at mortality.

"We want to monitor the survival of these individuals," Windels said. "We want to look at some calving behavior and calving rates of these hopefully six cows as well."

In a separate study, Voyageurs biologists will collar two wolves to monitor the status of wolves in the park.