Moose Population Health 2017

Moose Cow and Calves

Moose first returned to the Adirondack region of New York in the 1980’s after being absent from the state for over 120 years. In order to make informed management decisions, NYSDEC routinely conducts research to assess how many moose are present in New York and how many the habitat can support. As part of our evaluation of moose population health in New York, we examine and test samples from moose to assess reproductive status, infectious disease exposure, parasite load and causes of death. In recent years, moose populations across much of North America have been in decline, and getting better information about moose health has become a priority. One concern is the possibility that deer parasites may have a negative impact on moose that share the same home range.

The WHP is a partner in a multi-institutional study of moose populations in the Adirondacks. In 2016 we conducted serosurveys on 11 live moose and necropsies of 22 moose to determine causes of mortality. Major threats to the moose population in NY include deer brainworm (Parelaphostrongylus tenuis) and giant liver flukes (Fascioloides magna) . These are parasites that can cause mortality in moose and are found in white tailed deer in the Adirondack region. 

We also participate in a northeast moose health cooperative, a network that shares information and has initiated a pilot project to identify intermediate (gastropod) and definitive (deer and canid) hosts for parasites, such as liver flukes, brainworm, Neospora caninum, and hydatid worm(Echinococcus granulosus)­. This information will generate a parasite risk map for moose in the Adirondacks that can help support population management programs.