The Moose Winter Tick Surveillance Program is back!

Cow and calf moose showing signs of tick infestation.

Hello again everyone and welcome to the first email of the 2018 BC Moose Winter Tick Surveillance Program!

The Province of British Columbia is excited to be getting started again and looking forward to seeing results from the 2018 season. Last year was another successful year and we received 330 submissions, check out the latest report on the website. This year we are looking to do even better. We are asking for your help to spread the word about this program and encourage people to document and share their moose observations with us.

For those of you who are new to the program, the information below outlines what this program is all about:

The BC Wildlife Health Program is looking for help from wildlife professionals, wildlife enthusiasts and the general 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 occurs 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 fourth year of the program; last year we received 330 reports of moose from across the province.

Winter tick infestations can be observed on moose during January through April.  The ticks spend the entire winter on one moose and there can be as many as tens 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.

We 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.

IMPORTANT – HOW TO SUBMIT A SURVEY:

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

1)      An online survey. Simply go to www.gov.bc.ca/wildlifehealth/mooseticksurvey and click on “Complete the online form” on the right side of the page. 

2)      An electronic .PDF version of the moose winter tick survey that can be filled in on your computer and returned via email. You can download the form from the website above. 

3)      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 toFLNRMooseTickSurvey@gov.bc.ca

 

If you would prefer to receive paper hard-copies of the survey, please email us with your mailing address and we 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 us using the contact information below.

It would be great if you could carry this survey with you while you are out in the field this winter/spring when tick infestations become visible.  Please document all moose observations, from January 1, 2018 to April 30, 2018, regardless of hair loss or not. Also, it would be appreciated if you could distribute this email to anyone who will be spending time in the field this winter/spring.

To make your submission of moose observations even more convenient, we are releasing our mobile phone/tablet app! This app is a great way to record and submit observations of moose when you don’t have access to a computer. It is easy to use, especially in the field and you can even add in a photo. If you used this app last year please note there is no username and password needed to login. You should ensure you have downloaded the most updated version of the app. The instructions for downloading and using the app are below and attached in .pdf format.

 

The app is just one of many ways that you can submit a survey. Please visit the following website if you wish to submit an online survey, or download the fillable .pdf version of the survey:

https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/environment/plants-animals-ecosystems/wildlife/wildlife-health/wildlife-health-matters/moose-health/moose-winter-tick-survey

 

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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 (Environmental Systems Research Institute, Inc) software. ESRI 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.com/products/survey123 OR https://esri.ca/en/company/about-us

This year you do not require a username or password to use this app and complete a survey. Please ensure you have the updated version of this app, if you used it last year. 

How to download the app:

  1. On your iOS Productsincluding 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.

  1. Download the app, but do not open it yet.
  2. Click on the following link. https://survey123.arcgis.com/share/8991af15e77b4374b128f7f286d2ffed?open=native
  3. Follow the prompts.
  4. You should now be viewing the survey form. For more information on the interactive map please read Using The Interactive Map.

APPLE USERS: For initial setup, a notification should pop up asking for the app to use your location services. Please accept this as it makes the map more functional.

If you have issues downloading or using the app for the Moose Winter Tick Survey 2018, please contact us at:

Phone: 250-787-3283
EmailFLNRMooseTickSurvey@gov.bc.ca

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.

If you have any questions about the program, the app or anything else, please feel free to Courtney.

Thanks again everyone,

Courtney Jones

Program Coordinator

(250)787-3283