ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) – Officials say Minnesota’s moose population is declining, so the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources wants to add moose to the state’s endangered species list.
The moose would first be listed as a species of concern, and hunters would still be able to go after them. Moose are one of 67 animals and 114 plants that the DNR wants to add to the endangered list. Officials are also seeking to remove 14 animals and 15 plants.
The list was last revised in 1996.
But hunting could be limited in the future if the moose moves up the list and is considered threatened or endangered.
Moose numbers have possibly been declining in northern Minnesota due to a warming climate.
“Moose are great at tolerating cold temperatures, but they’re not very good at tolerating warm temperatures, especially warm winter temperatures,” said Minnesota Endangered Species Coordinator Rich Baker.
The DNR says one of Minnesota’s two moose populations, in the northwest part of the state, is all but gone. Thousands remain, however, in the northeast.
“What we’re doing here is recommending the moose be given special concern status, and that’s just sort of a watch list that tells the public that we are concerned, that it needs some attention,” Baker said.
He says the purpose of putting any species on the list is to get it off the list. That’s what happened in Minnesota with eagles and wolves.
“Those were first placed on the list nearly 30 years ago,” he said. “And we are now removing them from the list, because in both cases they’ve recovered.”