New research raises concerns about Vermont moose population

Published: Feb. 10, 2023 at 3:10 PM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - A new research collaboration between Vermont Fish and Wildlife and the University of Vermont is raising concerns about the state’s moose population.

Researchers say the mortality rate for young moose under the age of 1 is high, and female moose appear to be having fewer offspring annually.

They tracked moose location and movement during the winters from 2017-2019 and frequently checked in on the population of winter ticks using them as a host.

Their findings indicate the moose population in Vermont is subject to a similar decline seen in other states in our region, largely driven by winter tick infestations.

An important part of the tracking equation? Habitat.

“We are able to see and map across our landscape where they are and how they are using the landscape and, of course, that knowledge can be really beneficial when we are trying to examine how moose are responding or behaving in relation to this issue of winter ticks,” said Josh Blouin, a wildlife specialist with Vermont Fish and Wildlife.

Stressors the research found beyond just the winter tick population include a warming climate.

Researchers say this data will be critical in better understanding the Vermont population of moose so we can better manage their habitat and support their population.