Can Our Moose Be Saved

When a moose goes down in the North Woods, it’s hauled out to a U lab. Researchers are finding hope for saving moose, but with tough tradeoffs.

Story by Josephine Marcotty, photos and video by Brian Peterson Star Tribune

February 7, 2016 — 12:00AM


The death of moose No. 161 was written in the snow.

Emaciated and sick, he had bedded down deep in the North Woods. In his final struggle to rise, he plowed a dark furrow across the white ground before collapsing beneath a towering white pine.

Ordinarily, his carcass would have melted slowly into the earth. But within 24 hours, it was hoisted away by helicopter — one of 47 dead moose that scientists have airlifted, dragged or tobogganed out of the woods in an extraordinary project to find out why the massive animals are disappearing from Minnesota.

Now, answers to that mystery are at last beginning to emerge — as are some of the dilemmas they will present to the state. Continue reading

Posted in Climate change, Deer, Disease, Species Management, Wildlife Legislation, Wolves | Comments Off on Can Our Moose Be Saved

Gov. Dayton proposes poachers be charged with felonies


Tougher penalties would apply to illegal taking of wildlife valued at $2,000 or more.

By Dennis Anderson Star Tribune

January 15, 2016 — 9:06pm


Gov. Dayton


Frustrated by fish and game poachers who get a “slap on the wrist” for serious offenses, Gov. Mark Dayton on Friday proposed that some wildlife crimes be prosecuted as felonies.

“The recently reported instances of wanton and wasteful poaching in Minnesota should offend the sensibilities of all ethical and law-abiding hunters and anglers,” Dayton said at the annual Department of Natural Resources stakeholders meeting in Brooklyn Center.

Dayton made a similar proposal last year to the Legislature, including revocation of hunting and fishing licenses for some offenses for up to 10 years, but the initiative was rebuffed. Continue reading

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US Issues Rules to Protect Bat Threatened by Fungal Disease


  • By john flesher, ap environmental writer
  • TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — Jan 13, 2016, 3:27 PM ET
  •  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said it had updated interim rules that accompanied a decision last April to designate the northern long-eared bat as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The final version is less restrictive toward timber harvesting, clearing land for wind turbines, houses or oil pipelines and other activities that might cause some bats deaths but have no significant effect on the overall population, agency director Dan Ashe said.
  • The policy will enable the government to focus its bat conservation efforts primarily on white-nose syndrome, which has killed some 5.7 million of the winged mammals since its discovery in a New York cave in 2006, Ashe said. The disease or the fungus that causes it have been detected in 30 states in the Northeast, South and Midwest and in five Canadian provinces. Seven bat species have been affected, and the northern long-eared is among those hardest hit.The fungus attacks bats that spend winters in caves and mines, disrupting hibernation and depleting the energy their bodies must ration until spring to avoid starvation.The Fish and Wildlife Service decided against listing the northern long-eared bat as “endangered,” or nearly extinct, settling for the category of “threatened,” which imposes less-stringent limits on human actions that could harm the animal.But the rules were revised to reduce inconvenience to landowners and industry, said Tom Melius, the service’s Midwestern regional director. While making it illegal to intentionally kill or harass the bats, they keep to a minimum the prohibitions on harm that happens during otherwise legal projects.The Independent Petroleum Association of America said the final regulations were a “workable compromise.”The Center for Biological Diversity is challenging in federal court the interim rules and the government’s refusal to list the bat as endangered. The environmental group may expand the suit to include the new rules, which “will almost certainly result in more dead bats by allowing the destruction of habitat they need when coming out of hibernation or are pregnant in the summer,” attorney Tanya Sanerib said. “It’s the last thing they need after being devastated by disease.”
  • “While oil and gas operations have a negligible impact on the health of the northern long-eared bat, independent producers stand willing and able to comply with conservation measures designed to protect the bat during its most sensitive stages of life,” said Dan Naatz, a vice president of the trade group.
  • In areas where white-nose syndrome exists, such “incidental” harm is illegal at hibernation sites and as a result of removing trees within a quarter-mile of those sites. Also protected are trees where bats give birth and roost — and other trees within 150 feet of them — during June and July, when pups are in nests and haven’t learned to fly.
  • Even so, the ruling drew criticism from the timber and oil and gas industries, which said it could boost costs and hamper their work without measurably helping the bats. The federal agency received more than 40,000 public comments. Officials said the regulations, which take effect Feb. 16, are necessary to protect crucial habitat, including hibernation caves and trees where the bats raise their young during summer.
  • Bats are valuable to people, eating mosquitoes and other insects that otherwise would cause billions of dollars in crop damage.
  • “Until there is a solution to the white-nose syndrome crisis, the outlook for this bat will not improve,” Ashe said. “This rule tailors regulatory protections in a way that makes sense and focuses protections where they will make a difference for the bat.”
  • It drew praise from an industry group, but a lawsuit warning from environmentalists who said it would make things worse for a species whose numbers have fallen more than 90 percent in some places.
  • Federal officials issued regulations Wednesday designed to protect the northern long-eared bat, one of several types of bat that have suffered steep population declines because of a rapidly spreading fungal disease.

Continue reading

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83rd MAFWA Directors’ Annual Meeting – Save the Date!

The 83rd MAFWA Directors’ Annual Meeting will be held Sunday, June 26 – Wednesday, June 29, 2016 at the Chase Park Plaza, Saint Louis, Missouri. For more information, click here.

The MAFWA Directors’ Meeting is for senior level management of natural resources professionals in the fields of wildlife and fisheries management, information and education, licensing and administration, law enforcement, and conservation engineering.

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Experimental CWD Vaccine Failing Initial Tests


Patrick Durkin +

Posted: 12/14/15



An experimental vaccine for chronic wasting disease actually increased the likelihood of elk to contract CWD by at least three times.

Hopes for a vaccine to prevent chronic wasting disease (CWD) suffered a severe blow when Wyoming researchers announced in early November that elk inoculated with an experimental serum were at least three times more likely to contract CWD than unvaccinated elk. Continue reading

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