Tag Archives: Moose Tracking

New Hampshire Moose GPS Tracking Study Costs $695,000

The cost of a federally funded research project in New Hampshire caused Debora Pignatelli, Fish and Game Executive Councilor for the state, to do a double take. According to the contract, the four-year study will cost $695,000. Governor Maggie Hassan and the Executive Council did eventually approve the contract after some review. Moose tracking is very expensive, but ultimately worth the cost.

 

Wildlife & GPS Tracking

Wildlife & GPS Tracking

The research team will track 80 to 100 moose from now until 2017. They will monitor adult cows and baby moose calves with GPS tracking devices. The devices themselves are costly, but don’t account for the bulk cost of the study. The team will first track down each moose from a helicopter, tranquilize it and record pertinent data before attaching the GPS tracking collar. “Radio collaring moose is extremely expensive,” explained Fish and Game Executive Director Glenn Normandeau. “It’s not just a bunch of people running around in the bushes with dart guns.”

 

There are currently an estimated 4,500 moose in the state of New Hampshire. The research team hopes to maintain and grow the moose population, which is vital to the state’s economy and ecosystem. Moose in New Hampshire currently face a variety of challenges, including hunting, deadly traffic and disease, as well as climate-related obstacles. An estimated 250 moose are roadkill victims every year, and 275 moose hunting permits were issued for the 2013 hunting season. Moose can contract deadly diseases from ticks in the area.

 

The contract information states that moose are “an invaluable ecological, economic, and recreational resource in New Hampshire. The annual estimated economic expenditure associated with new Hampshire wildlife-watching exceeds $250 million.” The moose alone generate more than $300,000 each year for the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department. This revenue is used for wildlife management, staffing and enforcement.

Almost Half Of 49 Newborn Minnesota Moose Fitted With GPS Collars Died Days Later

Glenn DelGuidice planned to study the moose population of Minnesota’s northern forests, and in January, outfitted 49 moose calves with GPS tracking devices. He told people that they would see quick results from the study, and they did — just not the way they had expected.

Days after the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources captured the moose calves and placed the GPS tracking collars on them, 22 of them have died. The majority of those calves were killed by wolves and black bears. Of course, this is expected. The calves, in the first few weeks of life, are highly vulnerable to predators.

DelGuidice, lead moose researcher, said in an interview with the News Tribune, “Especially in the last few days, bear and to some extent wolves have just been hammering the calves. We knew that we would lose a lot of calves quickly. But to see it happening in real time like this is all new for us.”

All over the world, studies have been conducted that have discovered just over half of all moose calves will likely die in their first year of life, whether from predators, disease, or other reasons. Black bears are just waking from hibernation, and with berries, insects and nuts in low supply at the beginning of the season, the moose calves make an easy target.

The weather this year — snow late in the season, a cool spring, and delayed forest growth — have made it easier for the bears to find the calves.

DelGuidice points out that these numbers are actually expected. Studying the surviving calves will paint a truer picture into the reason the area’s moose population is declining. “You could have 100 percent of the calves survive and that wouldn’t solve our problem,” he said. “Our problem (in Northeastern Minnesota) is that too many adults are dying; not enough are surviving to reproduce to sustain the population.”

Thanks to the GPS tracking collars, researchers are able to respond quickly when a calf ceases movement. They have successfully retrieved 15 out of the 22 dead calves to figure out their cause of death. The other nine were eaten by predators. Sometimes, all that could be located was “the collar and tracks.”

As to what happened to them, they can’t be sure. Some could have died from the collaring process, while others may have been diseased or had a low birth weight. It will not be known for certain until lab results are released. “We’re not sure yet what killed some of them. It could have been capture-related, or it could have been they just weren’t viable; they couldn’t nurse or were sick,” said DelGuidice.

An interesting thing researchers have learned: 58 percent of the cows gave birth to twins, while experts only expected 20 to 30 percent. “That just blew us away. This may have its roots back in the (mild) winter of 2012, that more cows went into the rut and into this past winter healthy and with higher body weights and could sustain twins,” DelGuidice said.

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Researchers In MN Brave Harsh Winter Conditions To Track Moose

Minnesota’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) wildlife researchers successfully launched a study of the North Shore’s moose population. Unfortunately, moose in the area have been dying off rapidly and wildlife experts are scratching their heads. It’s been determined that hunting and natural predators can’t account for the population’s rate of decline. They managed to attach 31 moose with GPS tracking collars, but the frigid weather was a significant obstacle. On Monday, January 21st, the ground crew were facing daytime wind chills as cold as 54 below zero. Temperatures didn’t raise above zero until Thursday, Jan. 24th.

 

“We started the project last week near Grand Marais during a four-day stretch of extreme cold,” Lou Cornicelli said, DNR wildlife research manager. “Flight safety guidelines dictate no work can be performed below 20 degrees below zero. So despite the fact the helicopter was grounded for most of the first three days, we successfully collared and now are tracking nearly a third of the moose we plan to study.”

 

The study will span multiple years, hoping to track 100 moose total with GPS devices. “When you watch a collared moose disappear back into the brush, you hope data will help unravel the mortality mystery that is puzzling wildlife managers,” said Erika Butler, DNR wildlife veterinarian. . “The technology we helped develop for this project will be of use to other researchers.” The tracking collars are also attached to complex sensors, which can detect weather, heartbeat and much more.

 

“Signals sent from the 31 moose we have collared as of Monday afternoon are already providing us with their precise location,” Butler explained. “Sensors are recording the air temperature around them and, in some cases, their internal body temperature and whether their heart is beating. If a moose dies, we will receive a text message so that researchers stationed in the field can get there within 24 hours to allow for a necropsy and other tests to better understand the cause of death.”