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DEC Announces Completion of
Annual Aerial Survey of Adirondack Moose

February 09, 2019 08:30 a.m.
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    Press Release from NYS DEC (02/08/19):

    DEC Announces Completion of Annual Aerial Survey of Adirondack

    Biologists Record 175 Moose Sightings During the Fifth Year of Collaborative
    Research Project

    New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)
    Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced the completion of an aerial
    Adirondack moose survey that takes place each year as part of a collaborative
    study of the health of New York's moose population. A total of 83 groups of one
    or more moose were observed during the survey's 175 sightings, with all
    appearing healthy.

    "Moose are a charismatic and iconic animal here in New York and important
    research like the aerial survey is key to maintaining a strong population," DEC
    Commissioner Basil Seggos said. "I applaud the work of DEC's expert wildlife
    staff and our many partners as we work together to keep a close eye on New
    York's moose."

    After an absence of 120 years, moose recolonized New York in the 1980s.
    Since that time, biologists have been routinely monitoring moose in the state,
    informing the public about moose, and responding to situations where moose
    come into conflict with people.

    DEC wildlife staff conducted the helicopter flights in January over seven days
    and approximately 42 hours of flight time. The survey divides the Adirondack
    park into grids and records every moose or group of moose seen. The survey
    crew then flies over to the sighting location, takes a GPS point, determines the
    number of animals, the age and sex of each animal, and notes general habitat
    characteristics for each moose sighted.

    Researchers will use the data from the 2019 survey to refine DEC's estimate of
    the Adirondack moose population, which most recently numbered
    approximately 400 animals. In addition to estimating moose population size,
    scientists involved in this collaborative study also aim to improve the
    understanding of moose survival and reproductive rates and to assess moose
    diet and health. This information is important to reduce human-moose conflicts
    and to properly manage moose populations in New York State.

    Outside of New York, moose mortality has been linked to a parasite known as
    the winter tick (Dermacentor albipictus). High tick loads on moose can lead to
    fewer calves being born as well as poor condition from blood loss that can lead
    to death. While a few moose with winter ticks have been documented in New
    York in the past, there was no evidence of winter tick infestation noted in
    2019's survey.

    Currently there are six moose in New York that carry GPS collars, which allow
    biologists to track their movements and determine the number of calves that
    are born to adult females. Adult female moose usually have one or two calves
    in late May or early June every other year. In past aerial surveys, biologists
    have seen a ratio of approximately 0.5 calves per cow. This year, the calf-to-
    cow ratio was approximately 0.37 calves per cow, and no twin calves were
    observed during the survey.

    In New York, most moose are located in the Adirondack Mountains and the
    Taconic Highlands along the Massachusetts and Vermont borders, though
    young male moose occasionally will wander south of the Adirondacks in search
    of suitable areas to establish a home range. Moose are primarily browsers,
    feeding on the leaves, twigs, and buds of hardwood and softwood trees and
    shrubs. An adult moose eats 40 to 60 pounds of browse every day.

    The mid-winter survey is in the fifth year of a multi-year partnership with
    researchers from the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry
    (SUNY-ESF), Cornell University's Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit
    and Animal Health Diagnostic Center, the Biodiversity Research Institute, and
    the Wildlife Conservation Society.

    DEC and its research partners are also seeking information from the public
    regarding moose sightings to provide data for this study. If a moose is seen, the
    public can fill out this online form.

    For additional information about Moose in New York, please visit: DEC Moose
    Webpage; DEC Moose Management Webpage; DEC Moose Facts Webpage.
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