The BC Wildlife Health Program and its provincial wildlife biologists are asking for help from wildlife professionals, wildlife enthusiasts and the general public in promoting moose health with observations of hair loss caused by “Winter Ticks” on moose throughout the province.
The Moose Winter Tick Surveillance Program
The Moose Winter Tick Surveillance Program was launched in 2013 to collect observations and monitor the number of animals with hair loss and the amount of hair loss on each animal to estimate winter tick prevalence and distribution. Winter ticks are a significant parasite for moose populations and can contribute to moose declines in parts of their range, including B.C. Thus, it is an important health factor to monitor, in particular, in connection with climate change and moose habitat alterations.
Your Observations Matter
Winter tick infestations can be observed on moose from January through April. The ticks spend the entire winter on one moose and there can be as many as tens 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. Tick infestations can result in behavioural changes or direct health impacts that may reduce moose survival.
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 B.C.
How to Participate in the Moose Winter Tick Survey
Please choose the method that is most convenient for you.
- Complete the online form.
- Download the PDF, fill it in on your computer and return it to FLNRMooseTickSurvey@gov.bc.ca.
- Contact the Moose Winter Tick Surveillance Program at (250) 787-6102 or at FLNRMooseTickSurvey@gov.bc.ca to receive a paper copy of the Moose Winter Tick Survey
- Follow the instructions to download the iOS or Android app.
Please document and report all moose observations, from January 1, 2021 to April 30, 2021, regardless of hair loss or not.