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October 27, 2017 7:15 pm

Moose Tick Survey Returns

Sunday, January 22, 2017 @ 11:00 AM

Prince George, B.C.- Once again, the  Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources is  counting  on the public to help them  assess the severity of moose ticks in the  region and the impact on the moose population.

This will be the third straight year for the program which  relies on  observations from wildlife professionals and the public   about the  severity of hair loss  on moose.  The more severe a tick infestation,  the more likely  the animal will  be showing severe hair loss.

While the winter ticks pose no health risk to humans, they may be linked to the survival rates of moose,  especially  younger animals.  When  infested with ticks,  a moose spends more time scratching and grooming itself, resulting in hair loss and  less time finding food, which  could lead to weight loss.  Because of the blood lost to the ticks,  a moose may also  suffer anaemia.

When the results of the last  survey  were released,  (see full report  by clicking here) Ministry  staff indicated 2017 could be  a  difficult winter  for moose and  Program Coordinator, Dustin Walsh says the predictions  are still  pointing to a rough  winter for moose ” Basically  all three northern regions, Omineca, Peace and Skeena,  we’re   predicting  that Omineca will  be seeing a much greater  increase in severity  than the other regions compared to the last few years, but, the Peace is going to be quite bad.”  He says  other regions  in the province “could be in trouble as well, with the way the climate has been changing.”

Last year,  121 moose were observed in the Omineca Region between January and the end of April.  Of those  moose,  56 showed no hair loss,  31  had  slight loss,  12  were classed  with moderate loss,  15 with severe,  and 6 were classified as “ghost” .

It remains to be seen if the  recent cold snap experienced in the region has had any impact on  reducing the tick population “A lot of  ticks can be killed during that time” says Walsh “but the most important time is that   late September to  late October when cold snaps are  most effective.  When you get those cold snaps in the fall, it tends to  wind down their activity rate” but  the fall of 2016  wasn’t cold enough.

Anyone  wishing to  take part in the survey ( which will run until the end of April)   can  fill out a survey online,  or  save the survey  (which can be downloaded by clicking here) and  complete it on  an electronic device and email the  results to FLNRMooseTickSurvey@gv.bc.ca

Observers are asked to  take note of the amount of hair loss (if any) and  ‘tick’ the appropriate survey box that most accurately describes the  appearance of the animal.   There are  five categories of  hair loss ranging from none, to more than 80% .



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