2017 BC Moose Winter Tick Surveillance Program

We’re back!

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.

The 2017 electronic .pdf version of the survey is attached to this posting. This survey can be completed on your computer and returned via email to: FLNRMooseTickSurvey@gov.bc.ca

The survey(s) 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

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.


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

  1. NEW FOR 2017! New this year we have released an online form. Simply go to 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. 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
  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 me with your mailing address and I will send surveys to you promptly. Also, 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 using the contact information below.

Your participation is greatly appreciated!


Dustin Walsh

Program Coordinator


Moose Winter Tick Poster