The survey is said to help wildlife staff monitor the number of moose infected and the extent of its affects on moose across the province.
The survey’s findings will then help to inform moose management in B.C.
“This year’s pilot project, the Moose Winter Tick Surveillance Program, will monitor the number of animals with hair loss and the extent of hair loss on each animal to estimate winter tick prevalence and distribution,” a report from the Ministry of Forest, Lands and Natural Resource Operations reads. “Tick infestations can result in behavioural and physiological changes and directly impact the survival rates of moose.”
This specific type of tick, which the ministry says is quite common, spends the entire winter on one moose – sometime as many as tens of thousands on a single body.
As time moves on and the ticks mature, they feed on the animal’s blood, which then has the moose scratching and grooming excessively – resulting in hair loss and less foraging.
“The extent of hair loss on a moose is a rough indicator of how many ticks are present and can be observed easily from a distance,” the ministry goes on to write. “Survey participants are asked to observe the amount of hair loss, if any, occurring on moose and check the survey box which most describes the animal-ranging from ‘no loss’ to ‘ghost.’”
The deadline to submit a completed survey is April 29, 2015.