The moose population in Minnesota is declining sharply - And nobody knows why! Now researchers from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources have devised an innovative solution - One that will allow the moose to send them a text message but unfortunately, only after they are dead!
The impetus to do something began last year when a census count of the animals indicated that there were only 4,600 or about half the number as had been counted in 2006, left in the wild.
But given that by the time the researchers discovered the carcasses they were either decayed or had been partially devoured by other animals, diagnosing the cause of the many deaths was almost impossible.
In order to get around this, the scientists have decided to make use of modern technology. Starting later this month, 100 adults and 50 calves living in the forests of Northeastern Minnesota will be captured and fitted with tracking collars and also, be implanted with mortality transmitters in their digestive tracks.
The animals will then be allowed to roam free until, scientists receive this dire text message from one of them - 'Hey, I'm likely dead.' Timed to be sent six hours after the animal's heart stops beating, the message will enable them to immediately pick up the body thanks to the coordinates provided by its tracking collars.
While this will not do anything for the animals that have perished, researchers are hoping that it will help the rest of their species, as well as, other animals and even, humans. A similar prior study of moose carcasses alerted them to the existence of a strain of mosquito-borne encephalitis that would have also posed a threat to both horses and people. We sure hope the researchers are able to figure out the issue before they get a barrage of text messages!
Resources: minnesota.publcradio,org, northlandnewscenter.org