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Buy a Cupcake, Save a Moose

50th and France cupcake maker launching fund for research into Minnesota's high moose mortality rate.

Usually, a visit to the Sweet Retreat Cupcake Boutique on the border of Minneapolis and Edina at 50th and France involves a certain amount of guilt, depending on how far away swimsuit season is.

But on Feb. 9, Sweet Retreat owner and Eden Prairie resident Robin Johnson wants to give your conscience a bit of a relief. For every cupcake sold at Sweet Retreat that day, Johnson will donate $1 to efforts to understand why Minnesota's moose are dying in record numbers. Every day for the rest of 2013, a donation kettle will also be on hand at the store for any of Thidwick to give their spare change to the same challenge.

"As stewards of Minnesota's wildlife, we all need to pitch in because there is not adequate funding to provide more scientific tools needed to understand  why the Moose could quickly end up on the Endangered Species list, or vanish from our state's wilderness altogether," Johnson said in a written statement emailed to reporters.

SaveMinnesotaMoose.org website will be donated to the Minnesota DNR's moose wildlife health fund. The DNR is trying to put GPS tracking collars—at $2,400 a pop—on as many of the state's moose as they can. Over a collar's five-year life, the devices will help researchers track moose, and figure out when and where the animal has died. That information will help researchers investigate individual moose deaths. Conservationists also want to "non-surgically" implant $900 transmitters in the stomachs of collared moose, in order to monitor their vital signs.

So far, around 150 moose have been collared but the DNR has a long way to go to monitor all the 4,200 moose that live in Minnesota.

"'Save Minnesota Moose' is a welcomed citizen's voice and resource for exploring why our Moose are declining," DNR veterenarian Erika Butler said in a written statement announcing the launch of Johnson's project. "Ordinary people like Robin and others who put their personal concerns, time and money toward public causes like this that affect us all can only benefit us all—and hopefully the deeply stressed Moose population of northern Minnesota."

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