« Nader enters presidential race | Main | Analysis: Updates »

Minnesota's moose rapidly disappearing

The Minnesota moose population in northern Minnesota is nearly extinct, the Star Tribune reported Sunday.

The moose are dying of what scientists call "tip-over disease." Moose afflicted with this mysterious disease simply weaken and crumple to the ground at times they should be very healthy, such as in the prime of their life and in the fall.

Though the cause of the disease is still unknown, scientists think it may have to do with deer parasites, heat, stress, or a combination.

Researchers have been tracking the moose since 2002. Of the 114 moose in the study, more than 40 died of unknown causes.

The program has struggled with finances in the past few years, but recently received a $200,000 grant from the federal government.

The researchers often tranquilize the moose and take blood, hair, and stool samples in a search for clues about the perplexing illness.

One of the scientists involved in the moose-tracking project has attributed the die-off to global warming. The average winter temperature in Minnesota has climbed 11 degrees since 1961.