May 26, 2019

Are Radio Tracking Collars Just a Waste of Money?

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One might think so.

I was reading last night a story about what authorities in Minnesota are saying is killing their moose. According to this report, Minnesota once had 8,840 moose in 2006 and now there are only 3,710 “based on aerial surveys in January.”

What about those surveys?

We are told that that between 2013 and 2015, 173 moose were collared as part of a planned study to determine why the moose were dying. It has been reported that because of animal rights perverts’ complaints about the study (probably fearing the study might prove their ideology wrong), the governor stopped any further collaring of moose and essentially the study ended and one has to wonder whether much or any of the information they claim to publish is worth camel dung.

The report says, “Of 173 moose that were captured and fitted with GPS-transmitting collars from 2013 to 2015, here’s what happened to them:

* 28 moose are still alive with collars that are working.

* 53 are believed to be alive but their collars have stopped working.

* 23 are presumed to be still alive but their collars fell off and their status is unknown.
* 12 died immediately after being collared so were not part of the mortality study.
* 57 died with working collars and are the basis for the mortality study data — the moose where cause of death is known”
57 moose, out of 3,710 is the sample used in making their determinations as to what is killing Minnesota’s moose. I doubt that the pie chart they have provided is very accurate and can tell us only what perhaps killed those 57 moose.
But it gets worse. Minnesota officials tell us that collars are very problematic. “It’s frustrating. It’s disappointing. But it’s still a developing technology. Everyone who uses collars like this has issues. There’s a lot that can go wrong,”
The report also contains some other interesting bits of information. As an example, some have determined that the moose are “malnourished.” Undernourishment is being blamed on habitat and there are indications that the highest survival rates for moose are coming in areas that recently saw very large forest fires and the forests have begun to regenerate.
In addition, calf survival rates are running around 30% which, if accurate, tells us it is doubtful that there would be any growth in the moose herd contributed from newborn moose. And, those moose calves, according to Minnesota officials, are being killed mostly by wolves and bear.
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