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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Biologist Jacqueline Frair who has done very solid work in New York State on the impact of Eastern Coyotes on deer populations is now involved in a Moose Study on the impact of winter tics on the Moose inhabiting the Adirondack State Park in upstate NY.............While we have reported on the fact that Winter Tics have become one of the key debilitating agents for Moose in the Great Lakes, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Colorado etc, etc, ,,,,Moose in the Adirondacks are thus far virtually tic free with NY State Dept. of Conservation biologist Ed Reed reporting that "the moose we caught(this past winter) had (only) two or three tics on them"............Frair feels that the smaller densities of Moose in the Park have a lot to do with the minimal infestations and the tics "aren't finding opportunities to feed and reproduce in massive numbers" ..............Note that the Adirondacks have somewhere between 500 and 1000 Moose while Maine has some 50-70,000,,,,,,,,Vermont 3000 and New Hampshire 4000...........Frair's density commentary is backed up knowing that the Park is a vast 3125 square miles large with those scant 500 to 1000 Moose having a lot of room to roam and not congregate

Will a plague of "winter ticks" threaten Adirondack moose?

ncpr radio-north country public radio
For the first time, scientists working in the North Country are trying to get a much more specific census of how many moose live in our region. They want a better idea of where these giant animals are living, their health and their success reproducing.
One of the big questions they're asking is whether moose in the Adirondack Park could be threatened by winter ticks, a parasite that's killing moose in other parts of the US and Canada.

winter tics embedded in the body of a Moose

In states like Maine and New Hampshire, the once-strong moose population has been hit hard by a plague of ticks and some researchers think climate change may be part of the problem.
A wave of tiny bloodsuckers that can bring down an 800-pound animal

"The way these ticks work, a single tick produces thousands of young ticks," says Jacqueline Frair, associate director of the Roosevelt Wildlife Station at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry.  "A moose can walk by and pick up ten thousand ticks at once."
Frair says the threat of winter ticks helped spark the study of moose populations here. 
"We've been talking for years about the need to study moose and understand what their population numbers are.  Are they growing, are they declining?  What are the limits to their growth?  We decided we need to do that now."

Moose having lost its skin to winter tic infestation

By some estimates, winter ticks have contributed to a forty percent decline in moose populations in some parts of the US.  But so far, infestations on anything like that scale haven't hit the Adirondacks.
So far, no tick plague in the Adirondacks
We've been talking for years about the need to study moose...we decided we need to do that now
"The moose we caught only had two or three ticks on them," says Ed Reed, Regional WIldlife Biologist for New York's Conservation Department, based in Ray Brook.
Reed says a crew that captured and examined moose this winter found the animals in remarkably good shape compared with tick-infested animals further east.  "They just commented that it was nice to see healthy, happy moose."
One of the questions being asked is whether climate change combined with rising moose population densities could spark a tick outbreak here.  Scientists say the parasites have expanded their range steadily.
"When we captured our moose, we did pull a winter tick or two off, but we just don't have those high loads yet and we think part of the story is moose density alone," says Jacqueline Frair. 
With fewer moose spread over wide swaths of the Adirondacks, it's possible that ticks simply aren't finding opportunities to feed and reproduce in massive numbers, as they do where moose are clustered together.
The research being done this winter is expected to shape a management plan for moose, one that will be based on a far clearer understanding of their numbers, health and distribution.

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