ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — Gov. Mark Dayton ordered the state Department of Natural Resources to stop putting radio collars on moose.
The collars are supposed to help scientists figure out why the moose population is declining in the state, but the governor says more moose are dying because of them.READ MORE: Brennon Sayers Pleads Guilty To Shooting 2 Men On Red Lake Reservation
The DNR was planning to collar about 50 newborn moose calves next month as part of its research.
But now, with Dayton’s order, researchers will have to find another way to figure out what’s happening to moose in Minnesota.
Dayton said using radio collars to track moose causes calves to be abandoned by their mothers — and often leads to an early death for any collared moose.
“The No. 1 predator for small moose is wolves, and No. 2 is the trauma from having these collars put on them,” he said. “Now, even with the most recent techniques, the mother of moose are dying from the trauma of the way this is being done.”
The DNR has been using the collars to track moose since 2013 as they try to understand why the state’s moose population has been on a decline.READ MORE: Bus Driver Found Dead By High School Basketball Team In Southwestern MN
Currently, more than 70 percent of young moose do not survive their first winter in Minnesota.
“I understand and empathize with those who were concerned by the unintended loss of moose in this study,” DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr said in a statement. “We support the decision to end this phase of the research.”
Dayton said he agreed with the purpose of the radio collars, but not with the cost.
“You can study and study when information is good, but when you’re damaging the breed you’re trying to study, it’s just not right,” he said.
The DNR said it will continue to monitor the 100 adult moose that are already collared.MORE NEWS: Gov. Tim Walz Calls For Hennepin Co. Sheriff Dave Hutchinson To Resign Following DWI Crash
The governor’s office said, of the 74 calves that have been collared by the DNR in the past, 16 were abandoned. Six of those were placed at the Minnesota Zoo or another facility.