CONCORD — Moose biologist Kristine Rines Monday recapped the progress of the moose mortality study that got underway in northern New Hampshire in January. This is the first year of a three-year study being undertaken by the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, in partnership with the University of New Hampshire.
A total of 43 moose were captured and collared during the first two weeks of the study, very close to the anticipated number. For this initial project work, Fish and Game contracted with a specialized helicopter wildlife crew to capture and collar moose for the study, using net-guns and tranquilizer darts. Extremely cold temperatures made the work challenging, because it affected some equipment.
Biologists took blood samples from the collared moose, as well as hair samples, fecal samples and winter ticks.
Another 45 moose are expected to be collared next January, as the study continues. No additional moose will be collared in New Hampshire in the third and final year of the study.
The collars typically transmit for about four years; a graduate student from UNH will monitor the animals for as long as the collars keep transmitting. Researchers will look at how long the moose live, and try to determine cause of death when they die, Rines said.
Background on the moose mortality study underway in New Hampshire, and a link to photos and video from the 2014 moose collaring, may be found at wildnh.com/Newsroom/2014/Q1/moose_study_update.html.
Rines also addressed questions on the status of New Hampshire’s moose population, explaining the reasons Fish and Game is undertaking the study at this time.
“Moose are not on the verge of disappearing from the New Hampshire landscape, but they are declining,” she said. “Regional moose populations are facing some serious threats. We don’t know what the future holds for our moose, but we’re hopeful that a combination of research and management efforts will allow us to do all we can to secure the future of New Hampshire’s invaluable moose resources.”