Through the study, researchers hope to find out if natural mortality has increased among New Hampshire’s moose since a similar study was conducted here ten years ago (from 2001 to 2006). The current research effort is a more directed study focused primarily on mortality.
“It’s clear that we need to learn more about the causes of moose mortality and how our changing weather patterns may be affecting both the causes and rates of mortality in our moose herd,” Rines said.
Researchers will be looking closely at whether the increase in moose mortality and reduction in reproductive success in New Hampshire is because of winter tick, or if additional disease and parasite problems or other causes of mortality are in evidence.
“If this trend is driven primarily by winter tick, then every year will be different, because weather is such a big player,” Rines said. “What we learn will help our moose management team anticipate and respond to changing moose mortality and productivity.”
The study, funded by federal Wildlife Restoration dollars with the support of matching funds from UNH, may help answer a question on the mind of many Granite State residents and visitors: What’s in store for New Hampshire moose?
For more information on New Hampshire’s moose population, visit wildnh.com/Newsroom/2013/Q3/moose_future_uncertain_082913.html.