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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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Sunday, May 7, 2017

Winter Ticks, the scourge of Moose, are making their way all the way to the Arctic as the climate warms.............It is not uncommon in the lower 48 States for 40-90,000 Winter ticks to attach themselves to a Moose..........The blood sucking that that these ticks engage in will kill a Moose Calf(up to 75% of the calves in New England) and potentially do the same to adults(while female adults might survive the tick attack, they are far less likely to be in condition to bear the normal two calves in Spring due to their weakened condition)...............Fur gets rubbed off the Moose as they scratch themselves literally into "white ghosts,...............With less time spent eating and more time "rubbing", down go the Moose population as has been witnessed in New England and the Great Lake States.................

Threat of moose-killing tick infestation looms as far-north climate warms

Yareth Rosen

A small but dangerous parasite, the winter tick,
 is spreading north and west as winters become 
shorter and now is knocking at Alaska's border.

A researcher holds a tick plucked off a dead moose in 
Minnesota. (Ron Moen / University of Minnesota Duluth)
The winter tick, which has already devastated moose
 populations in New England and the upper Midwest, 
has been confirmed in Canada's Yukon Territory and
 in the Northwest Territories, where it's infecting elk,
 mule deer and some moose.
"Now that they're moving farther north through
 Canada, north and west, they're eventually going
 to arrive here, if they're not here already," said 
Kimberlee Beckmen, wildlife veterinarian for
 the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. 
"We will be next. It's only a matter of time."
For moose, the winter ticks' effects can be
 gruesome. The ticks gather in the fall on
 forest plants, latch onto passing animals
 and stay there through the winter, swelling
 to the size of grapes as they feed off their
 hosts' blood.
Tens of thousands of ticks can latch on to a
 single moose. They make the moose itchy,
 uncomfortable and prone to spending a lot
 of time and energy scratching, sometimes
 rubbing away fur, and too little time eating.
"It makes them waste away and eventually 
freeze and starve to death," Beckmen said.
 "It's pretty horribly devastating."
Many of the moose develop bald spots or 
are left with only sparse bits of pale 
undercoat hair. The thin, pale-colored
 animals are sometimes called "ghost moose."
Infestations are most dangerous for calves, 
which are already vulnerable in winter.
 In some areas of New England, where
 infestations have swept through the
 moose populations, winter ticks have 
killed more than three-quarters of the calves.

 The ear of a dead moose calf in northern New 
Hampshire shows attached ticks so engorged 
with blood they are the size of grapes. 
(Henry Jones / University of New Hampshire
The average tick load on an infested moose is 40,000,
 and some have been found with 90,000, saidPeter
 Pekins of the University of New Hampshire, one of
 the lead scientists studying the disastrous impacts
 of winter ticks on New England moose.
A load of more than 40,000 ticks will use up a
 calf's entire blood supply in four weeks, Pekins 
said. "They get anemic, they have declining weight
 too, and that's just the end of them," he said.
Adult moose are more likely to survive, but
 reproduction has been affected, with far 
fewer cows giving birth to twins, he said.
Although elk and deer are also infected, 
they are less harmed by the ticks because
 they groom their bodies regularly and are
 better able to remove the parasites, Pekins
The spread of winter ticks is aided by the
 warming climate, according to Pekins and 
other scientists.
Because of the timing of ticks' life events, 
higher temperatures, earlier springs, later 
winters — the pattern in a warming world —
 help them survive, proliferate and attach to
Adults females drop off animals in the 
spring to lay eggs, Pekins said. For an
 egg-laying female tick, "Her survival is much
 higher if it's bare ground than if it's 2 feet of
 snow," he said.
The resulting larvae climb up vegetation and
 cluster together in the fall in big balls, which
 passing moose or deer can pick up — and 
they are affected by the timing of winter's
 arrival, Pekins said. "The first snow event 
is key to killing the larval ticks that are up 
in the vegetation," he said.
As in New England state and winter-tick
 infested Midwestern states like Minnesota,
 shorter winters are cited as a reason for
 the spread in Canada.
For Yukon wildlife, winter ticks have been
 most prevalent so far among elk, though
 they are found on moose and deer, territorial 
officials report.

A cow moose in northern New Hampshire shows hair
 loss typical of tick-infested animals now called “ghost
 moose.” Tick-infected moose scratch away their dark 
overhairs to leave only pale strands underneath. Moose
 in this part of New England have been found with an
 average of 40,000 ticks, some with thousands more.
 (Dan Bergeron / University of New Hampshire)
In the Northwest Territories, tick-infected "ghost
 moose" were first documented in the 1980s, and
 cases have increased since then.
 found on caribou, according to biologists' reports. 
The Arctic Circle is about 66 degrees north latitude.
If infested Canadian animals wander over the border
 during the time of the year they're carrying winter
 ticks — between September and April — that might
 be all it takes to spread the problem, Beckmen said.
"They're going to drop those ticks in Alaska," she said.
Also ominous for Alaska is the result of past research,
 done by Beckmen's predecessor at Fish and Game, 
which suggests winter ticks can survive even harsh 
Fairbanks temperatures.
Randall Zarnke, a former Fish and Game
 veterinarian, and his research partners tested 
some captive winter ticks, monitoring adult
 females and the eggs' hatch success in three 
Alaska locations, including Fairbanks; many
 test subjects survived, said the study, published 
in 1990.

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