A 75 percent of moose calves of New Hampshire died this year because of ticks. These animals are the cause of the increase in the mortality index in the population of moose in the State. Although ticks are usually categorized as insects, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health, they are actually arachnids.
The factors that are influencing the increase of ticks that harm the moose population is the weather and the animals density. Short winters are affecting moose calves since that is the season when the animal is more protected from insects.
One moose, thousands of ticks
During some seasons, ticks invade moose bodies to feed on their blood, leaving the big animal so weak that they could kill it. In a single moose, thousands of ticks can be hosted.
However, the increase in the number of deaths in moose calves will also mean an increase in the number of deaths in ticks since the smaller the population is, the smaller gets the chances of feeding for the insects.
How do we know?
The trend was detected by biologists specialized in moose population, once marked animals started dying. The mechanism to control the moose is to use collars with a special technology that transmits information about the health of the animal.
Once the animal dies, it allows the scientist to access quickly to the spot where the body is located in order to study and detect the cause of death and the ticks’ effects. The tracking collar study is actually the only way to determine the moose’s tick density and the overall health status of the animals.
In the entire United States, Maine is the area with the largest moose population, with above 60,000 animals, followed by Vermont, but in these areas, the tracking collar studies are not being executed.
Source: Miami Herald