Eden Prairie woman helping to save Minnesota’s moose

Robin Johnson always had a special place in her heart for moose. She loves all animals, but moose have always been her favorite and, as a parent would drive her kids to the North Shore to find moose. dw07NWmoose-2

The Eden Prairie resident was saddened to learn that northern Minnesota’s moose population has been declining rapidly and set out to help.

She founded the nonprofit Save Minnesota Moose to help collect donations for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to use to study the moose population. The donations will go into the DNR’s Wildlife Health Program’s Gift Account for Moose.

“There’s Ducks Unlimited and Pheasants Forever in Minnesota for different animals, but there is no organization for the moose,” she said.

Save Minnesota Moose will hold its first fundraiser at Johnson’s 50th and France bakery, Sweet Retreat, 5013 France Ave., Minneapolis. For every cupcake bought at the bakery on Saturday, Feb. 9, $1 will go toward Save Minnesota Moose. More information can be found at saveminnesotamoose.org.

“Every little bit helps,” she said.

DNR Wildlife Veterinarian Erika Butler said in a statement, “Save Minnesota Moose is a welcomed citizens voice and resource for exploring why our moose are declining. Ordinary people like Robin and others who put their personal concerns, time and money toward public causes like this that affect us all can only benefit us all – and hopefully the deeply stressed moose population of northern Minnesota.”

The DNR is using high-tech equipment including mortality implant transmitters, which emits the location of the moose so researchers can find it to study after it dies, she said. They are also using GPS collars to monitor moose movements.

The DNR began a new moose research project on Monday, Jan. 21, to begin collaring adult moose in an attempt to determine why the moose are dying at unusually high rates in northeastern Minnesota. The project is using funding from the Environmental and Natural Resources Trust Fund.

Using helicopters to capture and collar moose, researchers are hoping to track 100 adult moose in the Grand Marais, Ely and Two Harbors areas, according to the DNR. Researchers have collared 31 cows and 15 bulls as of Jan. 31.

“We started the project last week near Grand Marais during a four-day stretch of extreme cold,” DNR Wildlife Research Manager Lou Cornicelli said. “Flight safety guidelines dictate no work can be performed below 20 degrees below zero. So despite the fact the helicopter was grounded for most of the first three days, we successfully collared and now are tracking nearly a third of the moose we plan to study.”

The moose population in northeastern Minnesota has declined significantly since 2008 and about 20 percent of adult moose die annually, according to the DNR.

“When you watch a collared moose disappear back into the brush, you hope the data will help unravel the mortality mystery that is puzzling wildlife managers,” Butler said. “The technology we helped develop for this project will be of use to other researchers.”

 

Contact Lisa Kaczke at lisa.kaczke@ecm-inc.com

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