It’s been awhile since we’ve updated you on the progress of the Minnesota Zoo Field Research vehicle that we donated back in 2012. By providing the Zoo with the CX-5 we are able to assist with conservation research efforts by providing the necessary means of transportation so that researchers can to travel to area’s where field work can be conducted.

Minnesota Zoo Morrie's Mazda Field Vehicle

Since our last update, Biologist, Nick McCann published a scientific manuscript in the Canadian Journal of Zoology that describes how moose at the Minnesota Zoo responded to heat last summer. He also drafted a second manuscript that identifies habitat that free-ranging moose in northeastern Minnesota select when “bedding down” (laying down to rest and digest food). Results from his research will be used to develop science-based management recommendations, with the goal of keeping moose in Minnesota into the future. 

Researcher, Brian Kot and his field team recently completed a short series of tests where attempts were made to capture wolves and then release them with GPS tracking collars. This is part of the study was to understand wolf-moose interactions in northern Minnesota. Based on information from these field tests, Brian will build new equipment this winter and resume field work in the spring.  He is now working with federal, state, and tribal biologists to analyze behavioral and ecological data from wolves in different areas of Minnesota.

Brian Kot Minnesota Zoo Morrie's Mazda Field Vehicle

Brian Kot Minnesota Zoo Morrie's Mazda Field Vehicle in Duluth

Last but not least,  Kim VanderWaal is also making strides in field research in the Mazda CX-5. She traveled to northern Minnesota, where she placed GPS-collars on wild white-tailed deer.  She was in the field during Winter Storm Cleon, wading through thigh-deep snow (36 inches!) in this unseasonably cold December. The aim of the project is to determine how deer and moose utilize the same habitat, and how that might influence the transmission of harmful parasites from deer to moose.

Kim VanderWaal with Morrie's vehicle

Here is a picture of the whole butterfly research team!

We’re so thankful that the Mazda CX-5 Field Research vehicle has helped with Minnesota Zoo Moose and Butterfly research efforts. Here at Morrie’s, giving back is important to us and we are proud to be able to work with such a great organization to help grow our community. Make sure to stay tuned for our blog for updates on the Minnesota Zoo Field Research Vehicle and everything else going on within our organization!