MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota's annual moose survey finds a continuing decline in the animal so closely identified with the state's north woods.
The survey counted 3,450 animals, compared to 4,350 last year and 2,760 two years ago.
The Department of Natural Resources said the survey is in line with the downward trend in the moose population. The state has about 60 percent fewer moose than it did in 2006.
Scientists aren't sure why moose are declining, but say warmer weather, parasites, disease and changing habitat are likely contributing factors.
The DNR also said mortality of collared moose fell slightly from last year, but the number of calves surviving their first year had also been low.
The DNR stopped allowing moose hunting in 2013 pending a recovery in the population.