Moose Herds Shrinking Due to Parasites
Parasites have been affecting the moose population in New Hampshire and other northern states. A new study from the New Hampshire Fish and Game shows that more moose are perishing from the winter tick. Moose have been dying from a parasite, brain worm, but now more are being affected by the winter tick. Last year 41% of all antlered game animal deaths were caused by the tick, which is the same amount of deaths caused by hunting and automobile accidents combined.
In normal conditions in the late fall Moose can have about 30,000 ticks on them, but with a late snow they end up with around 160,000. With later snow seasons and warmer weather the ticks have more time to reproduce as well, creating ever growing numbers.
Tick bites irritate and stress a moose and the result is a loss of appetite, an inability to rest and a thinner coat due to constant rubbing and scratching. Ticks pose an even greater threat to younger calves which are far more sensitive to disease. Nearly half of calf deaths were due to winter ticks. Calves are much more susceptible to this as they can lose their blood supply in a couple of months. Also if it happens in late fall when the animals are in mating season they are already eating less as they are more interested in mating than eating. From Reuters.com.