Fox News Bangor Maine reports on FWS/SCA Moose Study
GREENVILLE – Moose have become synonymous with the state of Maine, and preserving the population is a priority for wildlife biologists. It’s been 30 years since the Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife conducted a GPS radio collar study on moose, but biologists say it’s now more important than ever that they get this vital information.
“Viewing moose and seeing moose is one of the most important things in this state as well as hunting opportunity,” Lee Kanter, Maine Wildlife Biologist says. “The department of fish and wildlife tries to balance those things for everybody and one of the critical things is understanding female, adult female and calf survival.”
There are an estimated 60,000 to 70,000 moose in Maine, but there are 70 cows and calves in particular that are giving wildlife biologists critical information. The current study is two-fold, they collar females in the winter, and if or when they calve in May they continue to check up on mom and baby using GPS tracking and an antenna.
The first month is critical, but the first winter is the real test.
“There are some winters where ticks can be really bad and impact calves, where you lose a bunch of calves, and then there’s winters where winter tick is not as much of an issue and you don’t lose as many calves.”
The study is only in it’s second year, but already biologists are gaining a wealth of knowledge. In the first year of the study they lost 30% of their collared adults, this year they’ve only lost 8%.
But the biologists aren’t the only ones learning, the department has partnered with the Student Conservation Association to give aspiring biologists hands on experience.
The study will continue for at least 5 years, and based on the information they gather it will help wildlife biologists make decisions about how many moose permits should be given out in order to have enough moose for both viewing and hunting.