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Moose calf deaths puzzle researchers

Published torsdag 18 juli 2013 kl 14.56
"This is the highest recorded calf mortality in the world . . ."
(4:33 min)
A moose, or elk, calf. Photo: JONAS EKSTRÖMER / SCANPIX

One of the most famous animals in Sweden is the moose, or elk. It lives all across the country, even on the Baltic Island of Öland. But researchers are concerned about the high death rates among elk calves on the island, which was first noticed several years ago, when hunting resumed after a five-year-break. Hunters noticed that many of the female moose had no calf at heel.

Jonas Malmsten from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, who is one of the researchers looking into the issue, tells Radio Sweden that the absolute majority of moose calves die before they reach the age of six months.

"This is the highest recorded calf mortality in the world in areas where there are no large predators such as wolves or bears," says Malmsten.

Malmsten says some of the calves may be dying because of health problems that their mothers have, and others may be dying because of disease.

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