Tuesday, February 1, 2022

DEC and Partners Launch Adirondack Moose Research Project

mooseThe New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today announced the start of a new moose research project in the Adirondack region. This winter, 14 moose were fitted with GPS collars as part of a multi-year project assessing moose health and population. To safely capture, collar, and monitor these animals, 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.

Additional moose will be equipped with GPS collars in years to come, which 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. For example, winter tick infestations can be a major cause of moose mortality, particularly with calves.

“The moose population in New York is at the southern edge of their range in the United States and has not grown as expected since moose recolonized the State in the 1980s,” said Angela Fuller, Cornell University Professor and U.S.G.S. New York Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit Leader. “We have a fantastic collaborative research team focused on unraveling the complex factors that could be limiting moose population growth. Information from the GPS collared moose calves, paired with data collected on parasites and predators of calves will allow us to better understand threats to survival and moose health.”

“Moose health is a critical issue across many moose populations, including the Adirondacks,” said Krysten Schuler, Wildlife Disease Ecologist and Co-Director of the Cornell Wildlife Health Lab. “Through previous work, we identified emerging health issues and are now excited to test hypotheses about the influence of parasites on juvenile moose survival.”

The research 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.

The project also includes 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. Biologists also deployed trail cameras this past fall to determine range overlap between deer and moose, and 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.

Photo by Steve Spudie/DEC photo

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Information attributed to NYSDEC is taken from press releases and news announcements from New York State's Department of Environmental Conservation.


7 Responses

  1. Nathan says:

    seems a collaboration and reviews of Vermonts severely decining population of moose would be a starting point. the warmer winters and exploding tick populations have had a devasting impact across the board on mostly every wild mammel. the brain worms transmitted, CWD have been spreading and getting worse. The fate of moose in NY is very dismal at best, Vermont’s hunting population of moose has been so devastated that hunting may soon disappear. The biggiest threat is global warming, period!!! with exploding tick populatons anything but addressing global warming is not even a band-aid, but more of a feel good attempt-doomed to failure.

  2. Paul says:

    The area I deer hunt in in the Adirondacks seems to have a pretty health moose population. I am seeing more moose than deer, animals and sign. Even saw 2 together last fall, I think a Cow and probably last years calf. I see them so often now that I don’t even report it anymore.

  3. JT says:

    A couple years ago we climbed Debar Mountain. Did not actually see a moose but there was a lot of sign near the top of the mountain, It actually used the hiking trail as a travel corridor. Was surprised to see sign that high up but after I thought about it, it made sense because the trees at higher elevations are more accessible for browsing.

    • Boreas says:


      In a previous life I climbed the Knife Edge trail to Katahdin in ME and was also surprised to see tracks at close to 4000 feet. But a moose can go from a beaver pond to 4000 feet in a few minutes!! Not so easy for me!

      • JT says:

        Yea, I hear you there, and not getting any easier for me as I get older. Actually glad I did not see the moose that day. If I had it would have been a little too close for comfort. On the NPT a couple years ago between West Lake and Spruce Lake in the West Canada Lakes Wilderness I encountered an area with a lot of moose sign. I always stay on high alert in those situations. I would prefer to see one at a distance.

  4. Buck says:

    As Nathan says, a warming climate is surely a detriment for moose populations. Declining habitat is also. Moose thrive in young forests and the majority of the established moose populations in the Adirondacks are on privately owned lands, such as large conservation easement tracts where many of the helicopter calf surveys are conducted. Yes, we see moose on Forest Preserve lands (I photographed a huge bull in 2016 at Cedar River Flow), but as the Forest Preserve grows, moose habitat will decrease.

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