New Hampshire Fish and Game will closely monitor 43 moose in the state to learn more about why their numbers keep decreasing.
For five days in January, the agency oversaw the collaring of 43 moose in the North Country. They were about evenly split between adults and calves. The department hired a helicopter crew to search for moose and herd them into the open. Then they used net guns to help bring the animals to the ground, where they were outfitted with special tracking collars. The crew also took blood, hair, feces, and tick samples. Moose biologist Kristine Rines says while winter tick is the prime suspect in moose decline, researchers will look into other potential problems.
“We will look for things like lungworm, which is seen a lot in the state of Maine. We’ll look for liver fluke, which is seen in Minnesota at very high levels, and may be responsible for mortality, although that’s not really clear yet,” she says.
Rines says while the collaring was an overall success, four calves died due to tranquilizing drugs. The three-year study is a joint effort with UNH, in conjunction with a similar project in Maine.
Right now, Fish and Game reports there are about 4,400 moose in New Hampshire.