Scientists: Deer-carried brain worm major contributor in moose decline

(Minnesota DNR photo)

For years, Minnesota wildlife officials along with biologists and scientists have been trying to figure out the somewhat mysterious – and monumental – decline of the moose population in the state.

According to reports, scientists now say they finally have some answers.

A Nov. 6 story on Greenwire, an energy and online environmental news service, says scientists believe parasites carried by deer into the state’s northern forests have led to the decline. Findings from a pair of studies show a parasitic brain worm that deer can tolerate causes about one-third – possibly more – of Minnesota moose deaths.

According to the story, there were more than 8,000 moose in Minnesota in 2005, but that number has been cut in half, with the population restricted to the Arrowhead Region along the state’s North Shore and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, both in far northeastern Minnesota.

Also, human development and climate change have allowed the herds to move north, according to the story, first reported in the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Scientists say deer and moose are not adapted to coexist, the story added.

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