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DULUTH, MINN.—"Brady" looks like any other law enforcement officer of his rank — an eager, aggressive disposition, a long snout and wagging tail. But unlike most of his fellow K-9 officers, Brady doesn't search for illegal narcotics or bombs. The 6-year-old golden retriever mix sniffs for zebra mussels. Brady's partner, Minnesota Conservation Officer Julie Siems, was showing off Brady's skills Thursday at the Pike Lake boat landing outside Duluth. Siems hid a rock encrusted with zebra mussels in the splashwell of a fishing boat.
Residents along one of Minnesota's most remote stretches of road are accustomed to helping neighbors in need, whether it’s truck trouble or a forest fire or a white pine down across the road. On Monday Gunflint Trail residents added moose rescue to their resumes. A young moose walked onto the ice of Hungry Jack Lake, hit a soft spot and fell through, unable to get out on its own.
ST. PAUL — White-nose syndrome has now killed bats in six counties in Minnesota, up from two last year, and probably has spread to virtually everywhere in Minnesota where bats spend their winters. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources confirmed the expansion of the fatal disease on Thursday. The disease is being blamed for a more than 70 percent decline in bats at the Soudan Underground Mine during this winter's annual survey of the state's largest bat wintering area, called a hibernaculum, where white-nose syndrome was first confirmed in 2013.
The rusty patched bumble bee, a native of Minnesota and Wisconsin that was once common across the Midwest but which has declined rapidly in recent years, was officially declared endangered Tuesday by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. It’s the first species of native bee in the continental U.S. to be placed on the endangered species list.
DULUTH, Minn.—Minnesota drivers are slightly more likely to hit a deer on state roadways this year compared to last year, and Wisconsin drivers face about the same odds of a deer collision. That's the report from State Farm Insurance, which complies an annual list of the states where drivers are most likely to hit a deer, moose or elk. Minnesota again placed seventh out of the 50 states, with Wisconsin sixth, South Dakota fifth and North Dakota 11th.
Minnesota drivers will face a 1-in-88 chance of hitting a deer on the state’s highways this year, according to a report released Monday by the nation’s largest auto insurance company. State Farm’s annual report estimates that Minnesota drivers will collide with 37,549 deer in 2014.
Pelicans, cormorants and gulls are dying on several Minnesota lakes this summer, apparently from a viral disease that flares up every two years. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources reported Thursday that birds have died from Newcastle disease on Vermilion, Leech, Lake of the Woods, Wells and Marsh lakes. More than 1,000 gulls, 1,000 pelicans and 500 cormorants have perished. "We were doing a pretty massive cleanup effort on Marsh and Vermilion,'' said Erika Butler, DNR wildlife veterinarian. The dead birds are burned using charcoal to avoid passing on the disease.
The amount of toxic mercury in Minnesota walleye and northern pike has been going up since the mid 1990's, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency reported Tuesday. The unexpected increase in mercury was found in an analysis of 25 years of fish from 825 Minnesota lakes by the PCA and published last week in the journal Environmental Science & Technology. The increase surprised scientists because mercury levels in fish had been slowly but steadily declining in recent decades. "It's surprising.