Update: There is now a mobile app available for submitting surveys — read on.

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.  This is the second year of the program; last year we received 361 reports of moose from across the province.

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.

An electronic .pdf version of the survey is attached to this email. This survey can be completed on your computer and returned via email to: FLNRMooseTickSurvey@gov.bc.ca

The survey can also be downloaded from the following website: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/environment/plants-animals-ecosystems/wildlife/wildlife-health/wildlife-health-matters/moose-health/moose-winter-tick-survey

The electronic version can also be downloaded, competed and returned from your smartphone (instructions below).

It would be great if you could carry this survey with you while you are out in the field this winter/spring. Tick infestations should become visible in late February through to late-April.  Please document all moose observations, regardless of hair loss or not. Also, it would be great if you could distribute this email to anyone who will be spending time in the field this winter/spring.

IMPORTANT:

There are several methods of documenting moose winter tick observations.  Please choose the methods that are most convenient for you.

1)      An electronic .PDF version of the moose winter tick survey that can be filled in on your computer and returned via email. Please find the survey attached to this email. Surveys are also available at the following website: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/environment/plants-animals-ecosystems/wildlife/wildlife-health/wildlife-health-matters/moose-health/moose-winter-tick-survey

2)      An electronic .PDF version of the moose winter tick survey that can be filled in on your mobile device and/or tablet. Please download the free Acrobat Reader App for iOS, Android, Blackberry and Windows devices. On your mobile device, please download the survey attached to this email or from the website above and open the survey using Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Please return all completed surveys to: FLNRMooseTickSurvey@gov.bc.ca

If you would prefer to receive paper hard-copies of the survey, please email me with your mailing address and I will send surveys to you promptly.

If at any time you find yourself having trouble with downloading, using or sending the survey form, or even for general questions, please feel free to contact me at (250) 617-0725 or FLNRMooseTickSurvey@gov.bc.ca

Your participation is greatly appreciated!

Sincerely,

Dustin Walsh
Program Coordinator

2016 Moose Winter Tick Poster

2016 Moose Winter Tick Survey

INSTRUCTIONS FOR DOWNLOADING THE SMARTPHONE/TABLET APP:

Please use one of the following methods to download the app onto your device. This app uses ESRI software. ESRI (Environmental Systems Research Institute, Inc) is a well known company based out of Toronto that develop and deliver GIS (Geographic Information System)  services and solutions. See more at: http://www.esri.ca/en/content/about-us#sthash.ceibZDAr.dpuf

  1. DOWNLOADING THE APP

On your iOS Products including Apple iPhone and iPad, open the App Store and search for “Survey123” by ESRI.

OR

On your Android device (Samsung, HTC, LG, Motorola, Nexus and Sony Products), open the “Google Play Store” App and search for “Survey123” by ESRI.

Download this free app and once downloaded, you can log in using our Guest ID and Password.

Username: Guest123

Password: Guest123

*Note: Both Username and Password are Case Sensitive

Once logged in, the next page you will see is the “Download Surveys” page. Please click and download the “Moose Winter Tick Survey”. You should be notified after the download has completed, this should only take a few seconds.

After the download, the screen should remain on the “Download Surveys” page. Simply click on the “Moose Winter Tick Survey” again to open it.

You should now be viewing the survey form.  For more information on the interactive map please read Using The Interactive Map, in this email.

 APPLE USERS: For initial setup, please scroll down to and click on the interactive map. A notification should pop up asking for the app to use your location services. Please accept this as it makes the map more functional, then close the current survey.

Using The Interactive Map

This is probably one of the best features about this app! Not only will it find your current location by pressing the target button, but you can also click on the map itself and move the pin around to the location the moose was spotted if filling out the form at a later time.

Interactive Map Screen Capture