New Hampshire moose are getting collars in the following weeks. The collaring marks the beginning of the third year of a study that aims to analyze moose birth and mortality in northern New Hampshire over a period of six years.
The State’s Fish and Game Department in collaboration with the University of New Hampshire have partnered with Native Range of Elko, Nevada, for collaring the moose.
Besides New Hampshire, moose in Maine will also be collared this month as biologists from the two states teamed up to research the moose population for a better understanding of what might be causing its decline.
According to wildlife officials of New Hampshire, residents of Errol, Wentworth’s Location, Second College Grant, Millsfield, Dummer, Cambridge, Milan, Berlin and Success might be seeing a helicopter flying close to the ground during the following weeks.
Since moose won’t stay calmly to get collared, the collaring teams need to use net-guns along with tranquilizer darts to capture the animals and collar them without causing any harm. As the moose will already be tranquilized researchers will collect blood and other samples from the animals which they will use to evaluate and keep track of their health.
The collared moose will be monitored until the collars stop transmitting data. Students from the University of New Hampshire will track the animals at least for the next two years.
The collars will transmit a signal if the moose’s heart stops beating and tracking its location on the GPS researchers will be able to find the body and work to determine the cause of death. Usually biologists get to the site of death within 24 hours from the time they receive the signal confirming the animal’s death.
Scientists conduct necropsies and collect samples of blood, fecal matter and tissue which they send to the lab hoping they will provide hints regarding the moose’s cause of death.
During the first year of the study about 70 percent of the moose calves died as a result of the winter conditions in Maine and so did 60 percent of the calves in the second year of the study. However, a major role in all the deaths have been played by winter ticks, which are now closely analyzed by scientists.
In northern Maine biologists say they have already collared 70 moose as part of a new study area. In an older study area between Jackman and Greenville there are already 40 collared moose and biologists are planning to catch and collar another 36 moose calves.
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