Moose Survey Data

2020 Minnesota Moose Report

How has Minnesota’s moose population declined?

This graph shows the moose population trends in Minnesota over the last 25 years. Long-term moose counts are important for understanding the year-to-year differences that would be missed in a single-year survey. The northwestern Minnesota moose population is estimated to be 100 individuals—a number so small that researchers have stopped doing yearly surveys. The northeastern population has declined by roughly 64% since 2006, but the population has since stabilized in the study area.

Read the report

The Science of Moose

How Do Researchers Study Moose?

Moose Mortality

A moose missing patches of fur

After the near disappearance of northwestern Minnesota’s moose population, biologists were quick to respond to the decline in northeastern Minnesota. Scientists from across the state, including those at the Minnesota Zoo, worked to find out why the population declined. Some ongoing studies are examining winter nutrition, parasites, moose deaths, and responses to temperature. Mortality, or death, studies have helped reveal the health challenges moose face. Minnesota’s thorough research would not have been possible without significant funding and the teamwork of a dedicated group of biologists.

Counting Populations

View from a low-flying helicopter of a moose walking though deep snow

Wildlife biologists rely on yearly surveys to get an understanding of how many moose live in an area. Using a low-flying helicopter or plane, scientists fly over certain areas and count how many moose they can see. These surveys are done in winter when there aren’t leaves to block views and it’s easiest to see big animals against a backdrop of white snow. With enough of these aerial surveys, biologists can estimate how many moose live in the entire state.

World-Class Research

What Makes Minnesota Moose Research Unique?

Moose are Minnesota icons that had nearly disappeared from the northwestern part of the state by 2007. After 2006, moose in northeastern Minnesota had a period of alarming population decline.

Illustration of a bull moose set against a backdrop of evergreen trees and a pond.

4M

Million acres of moose habitat in Minnesota

To understand the decline, researchers began groundbreaking projects to monitor and study moose. Over 200 moose necropsies, or animal autopsies, have been completed. Much has been learned about the complex factors contributing to moose population trends. Biologists around the world look to the top-notch research that has been done in Minnesota.

Small illustrations of moose creating a kind of infographic.

64%

Percent population decline since 2006

A stylized illustration of the state of Minnesota.

47°1’N - 48°38’N

89°59’W - 92°67’W

Latitude and longitude of primary moose habitat in Minnesota