Congratulations to Charlotte Bill for winning the May 2017 iNaturalist Vermont photo-observation of the month contest. Her images of a Moose were the most popular photo-observation as measured by clicked ‘favs’.
Mostly lost from New England due to hunting and habitat change in the 1800s, moose populations began to rebound in the late 1970s. Recently, populations have been declining once again – this time from parasites and disease. Warmer and shorter winters are allowing Winter Ticks (Dermacentor albipictus) to thrive. These parasites, possibly combined with others like lungworm, are responsible for the premature deaths of ~70 percent of moose calves in Maine and New Hampshire. A single moose can have 75,000 ticks on it. The ticks can be so dense and bothersome that that a moose will rub large areas of fur off itself in an attempt at relief. But not the one in Charlotte Bill’s image. That patchiness is likely just from shedding and rubbing the winter coat away. This moose looks like a healthy young bull.
Visit iNaturalist Vermont, a project of the Vermont Atlas of Life, and you can vote for the winner this month by clicking ‘fav’ on your favorite photo-observation. Make sure you get outdoors and record the biodiversity around you and submit your discoveries and you could be a winner!