The Process of the Moose Mortality Project-When a Moose Dies
When a mortality alert is triggered or an animal localizes for an extended period of time a signal is sent via text and email message to the mortality response team. The response team’s goal is to reach the animal within 24 hours. There are 8 primary team leaders that have undergone extensive necropsy training. They are supported by 30 secondary and tertiary team members. The team is made up of MN DNR personnel, tribal officers, and academic members. The main objective is to remove the deceased animal so a thorough necropsy can be performed. In the event a moose is found alive but obviously ill, it is euthanized via gunshot. Special equipment including trucks with 2,000 lbs. winches, an amphibious ARGO, a chainsaw winch, heavy duty snow machines with long tracks, and all-terrain vehicles are made available for crews to extract the carcasses. If carcass extraction is not possible, a field necropsy is performed and samples are taken. Of the moose moralities, 12 carcasses were retrieved and transported for full necropsies. Field necropsies were performed on the remaining moose.