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Gov. Dayton tells DNR to stop moose radio collar program; says it’s caused moose deaths and calf abandonment

Dayton’s executive order comes after DNR efforts to collar baby moose resulted in many of the animals being abandoned by their mothers.

Gov. Mark Dayton has ordered the DNR to stop the practice of using radio collars on moose; he says reports indicate that the collars have led to even more deaths in the state’s declining moose population.

The governor’s executive order (pdf) says the DNR must end radio collaring immediately and indefinitely.

Said the governor in a statement:

“I respect that DNR researchers are trying to understand why our moose population is declining. However, their methods of collaring are causing too many of the moose deaths they seek to prevent. Thus, I will not authorize those collaring practices to continue in Minnesota.”

In February, DNR researchers said they planned to continue the radio collar monitoring as a way to get to the bottom of the moose decline, even though the effort didn’t seem to be working.

The Duluth News Tribune reported that in 2014, collars were put on 25 moose calves soon after they were born, but 19 of them were then abandoned by their mothers.

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The governor’s office said:

“Currently, more than 70 percent of young moose do not survive their first winter in Minnesota. Sixteen of the 74 newborn calves that have been collared by the DNR in their efforts to study the state’s declining moose population have been abandoned by their mothers. Six of the 16 abandoned calves were placed at the Minnesota Zoo or other facilities.”