Moose Herds Shrinking Due to Parasites

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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.

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Ca_Vermonster's picture

I have been following the

I have been following the decline in some of the moose harvests up there, and the overall success rates, but I did not know it was due to a parasite.

That's pretty bad.  I hope the spread can be contained, but it does not look like it is anywhere that.  30,000 ticks on one animal?????  And that is at it's lowpoint.  Heck, I get one tick on me and I freak out... lol

Hopefully the moose numbers in New Hampshire and the rest of the northeast will "weather the storm", so to speak.

groovy mike's picture

Kill the ticks!

Ticks are a horrible bane on everything in their area of existence.  Lyme idsease in epidemic in my area.  HUNDREDS of people are sick because of this tick borne disease.  We need something done to decimate the tick population.  Poison them.  Introduce tick killing predators.  Nuke the little buggers.  I don't care, but the ticks have GOT to go.

cowgal's picture

I have a couple problems with

I have a couple problems with this report. First is someone really counting the ticks on moose? How?

Second, I'm a bit weary of every problem being blamed on climate change. Did these researchers pay attention to the last couple winters? All across the country it was longer, with more snow. If the moose are indeed declining, they better come up with a better explanation than simply climate change.