Moose Tick Survey Predicts Rough Winter Ahead
(photo of tick infested moose courtesy Ministry of the Environment. Click on photo for full report)
This was the second year for the study which is based on the information gathered from public observation of moose. ( see previous story)
Over the course of the 2016 study, 121 moose were observed in the Omineca Region between January and the end of April. Of those moose, 53% showed hair loss due to tick infestation. The situation was worse in the Peace area where 183 moose were observed, and 73% had hair loss, while 56% of the 135 moose spotted in the Skeena region were recorded as having hair loss.
The researchers note in their report that given the mild winter of 2016, the tick infestation in the Omineca and Skeena regions is likely to be higher in the winter of 2017 because low snow levels allow the ticks to lay eggs on the ground.
The survey on ticks is one of the factors being studied to determine the causes of the decline in the moose population. In 2012 it was determined the moose population in the Omineca region had declined by as much as 50%. Province wide, the moose population has declined by an estimated 27,500 since 2011. The researchers also want to see if prescribed burns in moose management areas are an effective preventive measure to reduce tick populations.