Newfoundland Labrador Diseased Moose

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The Provincial Government reassured hunters and the public that the ongoing investigation of reports of diseased moose on the Northern Peninsula has not uncovered any common illness or threat to public health.

"The most recent results are consistent with the preliminary findings that there is no health risk to the public or hunters who harvest moose in this or other areas," said the Honourable Clyde Jackman, Acting Minister of Environment and Conservation. "We will continue to monitor the population and investigate any reports, including further winter aerial surveys of moose populations on the Northern Peninsula."

Wildlife and animal health officials began investigating reports of emaciated moose on the Northern Peninsula in 2007. Necropsy reports on eight moose collected and examined by veterinarians with the Department of Natural Resources do not indicate widespread disease or a threat to the sustainability of the moose population.

Necropsy results, for most cases, suggest that the primary cause of death was likely starvation, which could be a result of a lack of food, competition for food or health issues that could impact the ability to eat. Bowel inflammation (colitis) was detected in three of the animals. Animals with colitis would be consistent with a public observation of moose with diarrhea. It is suspected that some animals have been infected with the caribou brain worm. Brain worm is a common parasitic infection with caribou and, in isolated incidences, has been confirmed in moose in this province.

"We ask people to continue to work with us by reporting any signs of sick or injured wildlife to our conservation officers or animal health officials," said the Honourable Kathy Dunderdale, Minister of Natural Resources and Minister Responsible for the Forestry and Agrifoods Agency. "Hunters and people in the area are a critical front line for us in identifying outbreaks by detecting any erratic behavior or illness."

For more information or to report sick wildlife on the Northern Peninsula, please contact the Department of Natural Resources in Port Saunders at 709-861-3502, or Dr. Hugh Whitney, Chief Veterinary Officer, at 709-729-6879.