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Minnesota moose get license plate, new funding

Minnesota’s dwindling moose herd will now get its own license plate and a new source of money for research into why their numbers are declining so rapidly.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources on Monday unveiled a new moose-themed conservation license plate to join the state’s lineup of other nature-themed designs.

The Critical Habitat license plates require an extra $30 donation above the normal license plate fee that deriver’s pay each year, with the proceeds going to buy conservation land in the state.

The new moose plate displays a never-before-published painting by the late Les Kouba, famed Minnesota wildlife artist. It’s the eighth critical habitat plate offered, with the moose design now in addition to a loon, pheasant, chickadee, showy lady’s slipper, a fishing scene and white-tailed deer.

“Moose are synonymous with Minnesota’s north woods and its outdoor heritage,” Tom Landwehr, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources commissioner, said. “Nothing captures the essence of being up north better than a bull moose feeding in the shallows of a boreal lake, and that’s exactly what this new license plate depicts.”

The moose herd in northeastern Minnesota has dwindled to an estimated 4,300 animals, less than half of the 2006 estimate of 8,800.

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