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Thread: Provincial Moose Winter Tick Surveillance Program

  1. #1
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    Provincial Moose Winter Tick Surveillance Program

    *** Please see Page 2 for an update on the 2016 Winter Tick Surveillance Program ***


    Hey everyone,

    On behalf of the BC Wildlife Branch and the BC Wildlife Health Program, I'd like to introduce you to the Provincial Moose Winter Tick Surveillance Program. This is a great opportunity for you, as hunters, to get involved in the research of moose in our great province.

    BC Moose Winter Tick Surveillance Program

    The BC Wildlife Health Program is looking for help from 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 hairloss and the amount of hairloss on each animal to estimate winter tick prevalence and distribution. This program will occur on an annual basis, starting this winter. 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 behavioural changes or direct health impacts that may reduce moose survival.

    If you are interested in contributing to this surveillance program by recording your observations of both healthy and infected moose during the winter and spring, please respond to the contact information below. You will be sent a simple survey that will allow you to document the extent of hair loss, if any, occurring in moose that you see. The survey can be delivered to you in paper form, electronically via email, or through a form that can be completed on your iPhone or iPad.

    For more information, or to receive a survey, please contact:
    Mike Bridger
    Email: bridger@unbc.ca
    Telephone: 250-961-5869

    Or, you can send me a Private Message on this site. I will check periodically.







    Last edited by kootenayelkslayer; 02-15-2016 at 05:16 PM.

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  3. #2
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    Re: Provincial Moose Winter Tick Surveillance Program

    Im in, send me the details
    ...No enterprise is more likely to succeed than one concealed from the enemy until it is ripe for execution...


    If you want the prime bush, follow the Dawg...

  4. #3
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    Re: Provincial Moose Winter Tick Surveillance Program

    Please send me the forms! I would love to help.

  5. #4
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    Re: Provincial Moose Winter Tick Surveillance Program

    For sure, I work out in the Del Rio area,so this would be easy for me to keep an eye on the Moose in my work area.

  6. #5
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    Re: Provincial Moose Winter Tick Surveillance Program

    Mike! Very cool, hope this gets some involvement and success. Shoot me an email. Thnaks

  7. #6
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    Re: Provincial Moose Winter Tick Surveillance Program

    Is this for all Regions, province wide?

  8. #7
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    Re: Provincial Moose Winter Tick Surveillance Program

    One of my T cams is in a moose wintering grounds as we speak, would the pics I get once I pickup the cam be a benefit to you?

  9. #8
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    Re: Provincial Moose Winter Tick Surveillance Program

    Quote Originally Posted by eric View Post
    For sure, I work out in the Del Rio area,so this would be easy for me to keep an eye on the Moose in my work area.
    That would be great. If you could just send me an email at: bridger@unbc.ca, I will send you the survey.

    Quote Originally Posted by bruin View Post
    Mike! Very cool, hope this gets some involvement and success. Shoot me an email. Thnaks
    Will do!

    Quote Originally Posted by Caribou_lou View Post
    Is this for all Regions, province wide?
    Pretty much all regions that moose occur in. There are certain regions that tick occurrences are rare, or have never been documented, but I feel it is important to include those regions to get a good idea of tick distribution.

    Quote Originally Posted by HarryToolips View Post
    One of my T cams is in a moose wintering grounds as we speak, would the pics I get once I pickup the cam be a benefit to you?
    I suppose that would work, providing the pictures give a good broad-side shot, and you can provide the general location (your secret is safe with me) and date. Thanks.

  10. #9
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    Re: Provincial Moose Winter Tick Surveillance Program

    Another month or so and we may start seeing signs of moose winter tick infestations. If you are interested in participating in this research program, please get in touch with me and I will get surveys to you. Thanks to all that have contacted me already.

    Here's a little tick fact for everyone today:

    We could all imagine that being covered in 10's of thousands of ticks would have behavioural implications... moose that are heavily infested often spend time grooming and rubbing extensively. This behaviour can take away from time spent feeding or resting, often leading to starvation or stress during the winter.

    But have you ever wondered about the physiological implications of tick infestations? Here's a great example: Lets say a moose has a moderate to high tick load of 40,000 ticks. Approximately half of these ticks will be females (only females take blood meals in late winter). So there are 20,000 female ticks that each take 2 mL of blood from the moose. That's 40,000 mL, or 40 L of blood! The average moose has 30-40 L of blood in its entire body. That means that during the course of the late winter, ticks can consume a complete cycle of moose blood! This can certainly lead to anemia in moose, as well as huge energy implications for regenerating red blood cells.

    Here's the life cycle of the winter tick:
    Last edited by kootenayelkslayer; 01-28-2015 at 04:39 PM.

  11. #10
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    Re: Provincial Moose Winter Tick Surveillance Program

    I wish some areas of this forum could be posted to our face book. Stuff like this - but I fully understand the need to keep a lot of what is said and sold here private or exclusive to members too.

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