University of Minnesota: New research sheds light on the decline of Minnesota’s moose population
New research sheds light on the decline of Minnesota’s moose population
August 21, 2023
Minnesota saw a 58% decline of the moose population in the northeastern part of the state between 2006 and 2017. A primary driver of the decline is brainworm, a parasite that affects the animal’s nervous system ultimately leading to paralysis and death. Researchers from the University of Minnesota and the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa recently discovered evidence that moose in Minnesota consume species of gastropods —slugs and snails—which are known hosts for the brainworm parasite (Parelaphostrongylus tenuis). Although consumption of gastropods has long been considered the mode by which moose become infected with brainworm, this is the first study to empirically document this interaction in a natural setting.