LANSING (WWJ/AP) – Michigan wildlife regulators want the public’s help in keeping track of the Upper Peninsula’s moose population.

The Department of Natural Resources is asking anyone who sees a U.P. moose to report it using an online form.

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The DNR has been monitoring Michigan’s moose population since the species was reintroduced to the state in the 1980s, with bologists conduct ingaerial surveys across the animal’s core range in the western U.P.

A 2015 study found an estimate of 323 moose in their primary Michigan range — which includes Baraga, Iron and Marquette counties. If correct, that would be a decline there of about 28 percent from 2013, when the estimate was 451.

Moose specialist Chad Stewart says on-the-ground observation reports provide crucial guidance in determining where to search by air, helping to detect changes in how the animals are distributed.

Moose are native to most of Michigan but had largely disappeared by the turn of the 20th century because of logging, over-hunting and disease.

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It is “quite possible that we’re looking at a considerable drop in numbers,” Stewart said last year.

According to the DNR, moose can get to be 6.5 to 9 feet in length and weigh up to 725 to 1,100 pounds. They are excellent swimmers and can run as fast as 55 miles an hour.

[Report a Michigan moose sighting at this link].

While moose are typically known to be nonaggressive, solitary animals, an attack is not unheard of. Wildlife experts say if a moose approaches you, back away. If it charges you, do not stand your ground. Run away and try to put an object, such as a tree, between yourself and the moose.

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