Approximately 70 moose were collared in Maine for the six year study on productivity and mortality of moose. For the research and collaring, the University of New Hampshire and New Hampshire Fish and Game Department have collaborated.
The moose is the largest species in the deer family and it is known as elk in Eurasia. The population of the moose has decreased considerably in the past years, mostly due to hunting and other harmful activities done by the humans. Moose eat vegetation found on land and in waters as well. Most moose are killed by humans, wolves and bears. Moose are solitary animals and don’t live in herds like other species of deer. They are moving slow and are sedentary, but can become aggressive if they are angered or startled. When their mating season begins in autumn, incredible fights can be seen between the males who fight for a female.
In America, the moose population has been decreasing continuously since the 1990s, but fortunately in the arctic and subarctic regions, their numbers have stayed the same. The reason behind the decrease is a combination of global warming, poaching and the reintroduction of wolves. The global warming caused a change in the habitat and the migration of the warmer weather parasites. These parasites include brain worms, winter tick and liver flukes. Unfortunately, the moose have not developed a natural defense against these viruses.
Before the moose were captured, the researchers expected to capture and collar only 45 moose. The researchers have started their collaboration two years ago, because they wanted to find out why was the moose number decreasing. In order to collar the moose, the researchers used tranquilizers and net guns. Blood samples will also be taken from the animals, so that their health can be checked.
The moose will be tracked in the next years through their collars, by the University of New Hampshire students. When a moose will die, the collar will transmit a special signal and the researchers will get there as soon as they can, in order to determine the death cause.
According to Kristine Rines, who is a biologist at the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, when the study will end, the researchers will know exactly how and why did the moose population decreased. As the 70 moose were collared in Main, the researchers will have information on the mortality of the calves and moose adults as well.
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