You have likely already received the 2016 Harvest Questionnaire in the mail from the Fish and Wildlife Branch. Please take the time to fill in this questionnaire and mail it in or complete it online. The information provided is important for informing wildlife management.
Hello again everyone and welcome to the first email of the 2017 BC Moose Winter Tick Surveillance Program!
We are excited to be going again and looking forward to seeing results from the 2017 season. Last year proved to be another great year for survey participation and we received just over 500 submissions. This year were looking to do even better.
PLEASE NOTE: After reviewing feedback from last year’s survey, we have added another “Body Condition” variable. So please be sure to use the newest survey.
For those of you who are new to the program, I have included information below that outlines what this program is all about:
The BC Wildlife Health Program is looking for help from wildlife professionals and the public with observations of hair loss caused by “Winter Ticks” on moose throughout the province. The Moose Winter Tick Surveillance Program wants to collect observations to monitor the number of animals with hair loss and the amount of hair loss on each animal to estimate winter tick prevalence and distribution. This program will occur on an annual basis. Winter ticks are a significant parasite for moose populations and can contribute to moose declines in parts of their range, including BC. So, it is an important health factor to monitor, particularly with climate change and alterations to moose habitat. The findings of the surveillance program will contribute to the Provincial Moose Research Program, which was initiated in 2013 to investigate factors influencing moose populations in BC.
Winter tick infestations can be observed on moose during February through April. The ticks spend the entire winter on one moose and there can be as many as 10s of thousands on one individual. As the female ticks become adults they feed on blood in late winter and the irritation causes moose to scratch and groom themselves excessively, resulting in hair loss. The extent of the hair loss is a rough indicator of how many ticks are present and can be observed easily from a distance. We know that tick infestations can result in behavioral changes or direct health impacts that may reduce moose survival.
I hope that you may be interested in contributing to this surveillance program by recording your observations of both healthy and infected moose during the winter and spring. (more…)