NH Fish & Game plans $695,000 tracking project to study moose population's rapid decline
New Hampshire's moose population is on the decline, according to Fish & Game officials, who plan a $695,000 project to collar and track moose in an effort to determine the cause. (UNION LEADER FILE)
Moose mortality• Moose may live 20 years, but average lifespan is 10 to 12 years.
• Black bear are a significant predator of moose calves under nine weeks old. Coyotes may also take an occasional calf.
• Moose are susceptible to a tiny parasite known as brainworm, which is usually fatal. The parasite is passed from deer to moose via snails, which moose ingest while feeding.
• Moose also die from severe infestations of winter ticks. An infested moose can carry up to 120,000 ticks and can lose large amounts of hair trying to remove them, leading to secondary infections and hypothermia.
• Each year, as many as 250 moose die as a result of collisions with automobiles.
— NH Fish & Game (wildlife.state.nh.us)
Normandeau estimated that the moose population in the state is 4,500 at this point, which is considered a low number.
Using helicopters and net-guns, the wildlife biologists capture and radio-collar cow and calf moose, and then use GPS technology to track their movements.
Ted Walski, a Fish and Game biologist, recently told the Keene Sentinel that sightings are down 20 to 30 percent in recent years.
They are hunted in October for nine days through a state lottery that this year granted permits to 275 people from a pool of 13,000 applicants.
"It's completely gone," he said. "And other areas are experiencing similar declines while other areas are doing well. We're trying to figure out what is going on, and if there are things we can do, long-term, to ensure we have moose in the future."
In other action, the council voted to:
• Confirm Perry Plummer to continue as director of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, after applauding his recent response to flooding in various parts of the state.
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