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For Release: Friday, February 3, 2023

DEC and Partners Conduct Second Year of Adirondack Moose Research Project

Data Collected from GPS Collars Guides Research on Moose Population Health, Mortality, and Dispersal

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today announced the second year of a moose research project in the Adirondack region. This year, 19 moose were fitted with GPS collars as part of a multi-year project assessing moose health and population. DEC partnered with researchers at the New York Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit and the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University, the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY ESF), and Native Range Capture Services to safely capture, collar, and collect biometric data on the sample moose.

"Each year of this valuable research increases our understanding of New York's moose population and its vital role in our State's biodiversity," said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. "The data collected through DEC's research partnership with Cornell, SUNY ESF, and Native Range Capture Services helps us understand the health of our moose and allows us to make evidence-based management decisions to support this treasured species in the future."

The GPS collars will provide location data and information on moose activity patterns, movements, and mortality. Data collected as part of this research effort will contribute directly to the continued management of moose in New York.

Previous moose research in the Adirondacks has helped researchers better understand adult moose survival and reproduction, but little is known about calf survival and dispersal in New York. By collaring calves and monitoring their survival to adulthood, biologists will be able to investigate factors limiting moose population growth, such as the effects of parasites on juvenile moose survival. These parasites, including winter ticks, brain worm, and giant liver fluke, and their associated diseases have increasingly become a management concern in the northeast and elsewhere.

"There are multiple stressors in New York that might be limiting moose population growth," said Angela Fuller, Cornell University Professor and U.S. Geological Survey New York Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit Leader. "Our research team includes wildlife and disease ecologists and wildlife managers, working closely to better understand the role that parasites might be playing in limiting moose populations. The recent moose collaring effort will allow us to estimate calf survival and better understand moose health."

"The opportunity to capture and sample live moose provides us with a ton of valuable information about moose health," said Krysten Schuler, Wildlife Disease Ecologist and Director of the Cornell Wildlife Health Lab. "Unfortunately, we are seeing more evidence of parasites, like winter ticks and liver flukes, on the young moose, but this study allows us to identify management options for these problems."

The cooperative research project is funded by a Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration grant through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. These funds are collected through federal excise taxes on firearms, ammunition, and archery equipment and then apportioned to states for wildlife conservation.

This year's research also included sampling white-tailed deer pellets and water sources to detect and better understand the prevalence and distribution of brain worm and giant liver fluke across the landscape. Larvae from these parasites are found in deer scat, where they are picked up by snails and then incidentally consumed by moose as they forage on plants. Trail cameras were deployed in the fall of 2021 to determine range overlap between deer and moose and to monitor hair loss on moose infested with winter ticks.

For additional information about moose biology, current research, or to report moose sightings, visit DEC's website.

Aerial view of three moose in the snowy woods
Moose cow, male, and calf spotted January 8, 2023 during a scouting mission for DEC Moose Research project

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