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Radio-collared moose wandered into eastern Duluth

This collared moose has shown up recently in a Duluth neighborhood.

Dawn Bloom had a nice surprise in the yard of her far eastern Duluth home recently: a moose, which she's been waiting to see since she moved to the Northland eight years ago.

"My husband, Steve, and I have made several trips to Michigan and Canada, including the entire Lake Superior Circle Tour, and each time we've hoped to see a moose, but never have,'' Bloom said in a message that accompanied her photos of the moose. "I guess the saying fits, 'Chances are it's in your own back yard.' "

But this scruffy adult cow moose isn't just any ungulate visitor to Congdon Boulevard. She's moose No. 4073, part of a long-term study on Minnesota's dwindling moose population.

No. 4073 will be 9 years old in June and was originally captured and collared near Finland in February 2008, said Mike Schrage, biologist for the Fond du Lac Band of Chippewa.

It's unusual, but not unheard of, for a moose to travel that far. It's not clear why she settled on the North Shore on the far eastern edge of Duluth.

"Her original home range until last fall was in the Nine Mile Lake area northeast of Finland," Schrage said. "For whatever, unknown reason she started wandering down to the shore late last fall.''

Schrage said he thinks it's the same cow spotted by a deer hunter near Island Lake north of Duluth last November.

A couple days after the spotting, "she was seen in downtown Knife River, and we were able to verify it was 4073. She had been hanging out north of the Hwy 61 expressway between Knife River and Larsmont all winter,'' Schrage said. "A couple of weeks ago she made her most recent move back across the expressway and down to the area of Nokomis Restaurant and the Sucker River. We're checking on her once or twice a week to make sure she's alive and still in the area.''

The Fond du Lac band and Minnesota Department of Natural Resources are using radio-collared moose to find out where the animals go in hopes they can also learn why fewer calves are being born and fewer adults are surviving.