Are moose ticks killing our moose?


The May 31 edition of the Lakes District News carried an article about the local moose population.

A glance at Google search will demonstrate that the precipitous decline in moose populations is common in all moose populations in North America, with possibly the exception of Newfoundland. It is much more than a local problem.

Seemingly moose tick populations are getting a real boost from the warming climate and the moose may be getting stressed by the warmer climate and the increased tick populations.

Moose are, like many other animals in the Boreal Forest, beneficiaries of wildfires.

Wildfires are the end and the beginning – they remove the mature conifer forest and start afresh with broadleaf plants, shrubs and trees like birch, aspen and alder. All of this growth takes place in the midst of standing dead and fallen trees from the recent burn.

This is one of the major moose habitats. Nobody should ever suppose that a clear cut is the same as a burn, the all important fallen trees are missing.

Habitat is very important, but an animal population that is in decline from the northeastern states, all through Canada and Alaska there has to be something that is in common. The one commonality is climate change, warming. In all areas increasing tick populations are a problem.

The big question is this: do the moose ticks carry a pathogen that is killing the moose?

Instead of talking and gawking at the land, it may be better to put the ticks under a microscope to find out what fatal diseases the ticks may be giving the moose. It should at least be worth a thought.


Frederick Clarke

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