Of moose and men: U of S research examines rural habitat

farmland moose

The U of S is initiating a new research program on moose in rural Saskatchewan.

The University of Saskatchewan, with the support of the Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment and the Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation, is initiating a new research program on moose in rural Saskatchewan.

The project aims to determine key habitats for farmland moose and their diet, understand their movements, and examine when and where they cross roads and highways.

“The study will follow the hourly movements of 50 moose using satellite-based collars over a four-year period,” said Ryan Brook, assistant professor in the College of Agriculture and Bioresources and moose project director.

Moose have been gradually expanding their range southward within the province over the past 30 years.

Moose capture will be done in February 2013 and 2014 by a professional helicopter wildlife capture crew using a net-gun that shoots a net over the animal, a proven safe method that works well for capturing large animals.

Capture procedures will follow a detailed protocol developed in consultation with the Saskatchewan government and the University of Saskatchewan, and will follow the guidelines of the Canadian Council on Animal Care aimed at minimizing risk to moose.

When a moose is netted, the capture team will attach a satellite collar around the neck of the moose. They will also collect blood, hair and stool samples to assess animal health. No drugs will be used on the animals, enabling a quick and safe release.

The collars contain a release mechanism that causes the collars to fall off after two years and are then retrieved and reused.

The research will occur south of Saskatoon, extending from Dundurn, Outlook, Tuxford, Watrous and Chamberlain areas.

“It is our intention to keep disturbance and noise levels to a minimum during the capture and to leave the property we have landed on as soon as possible. Each capture will take about 30 minutes at most,” said Brook.

This study will also examine issues related to property damage caused by moose.

1 reply to “Of moose and men: U of S research examines rural habitat

  1. Mike Copps

    Specifically this email is directed to Professor Ryan Brook that I understand from CBC radio is doing his research on this subject.

    As a professional truck driver I’ve had my share of run-ins with moose.

    My route is nightly 250kms west of Thunder Bay, On and back. My theory is that if I “toot” my air-horn after seeing them on the side of the road, immediately after passing by, this startles them and they retreat into the bush. On my return trip, a couple of hrs, later, I’ve noticed that the hazard has disappeared and the moose that were probably out to lick the road salt after a recent snowfall, then salt/sander pass, have decided to avoid the loud behemoth making such a loud and strange noise seeking the solitude and safety of the forest.
    If properly educated, transport drivers can possibly solve your problem if they were aware of the service that they could provide to the motoring public. It has already been a public service that I have been providing for 2 yrs. The area is remote and the tree line and setback also acts as a sound barrier to (if) any rural resident .I see no downside to this effort and you are welcome to correct me if I may be mistaken.


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