Moose Tick Survey Returns
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% .