Outdoor Radio: Tracking Moose Health

A Moose calf walks through deep snow. The calf was collared and can be tracked by the research team from UVM and Vermont Fish & Wildlife.
/ © Josh Bluin, Vermont Fish & Wildlife Dept.

Moose populations in Vermont and New Hampshire have undergone a rapid decline for a variety of reasons, including Winter Ticks. We join Jake Debow, a graduate student of the University of Vermont and biologist with Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department, to trek through deep snow near Maidstone Lake in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom to find out more about the plight of Moose in the region and the ongoing research and monitoring efforts. Debow and the rest of the team has collared over 90 Moose to help them understand mortality rates, productivity and health. Join us as we track a cow and her calf and attempt to get urine samples that give these researchers clues to their nutritional health and learn what might be changing Moose populations across the region.

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Sara Zahendra and Jake Debow examine the latest locations of radio collared Moose across the study area and plan for our trip. / © K.P. McFarland

Armed with radio tracking equipment and GPS, we’re ready to stalk a cow and her calf about a half mile into the woods. / © K.P. McFarland

Jake Debow pauses to check on the location of the Moose. / © K.P. McFarland

Jake Debow and Sara Zahendra survey the fresh tracks from the cow and calf that passed just ahead of us moment ago. / © K.P. McFarland

Barked scraped by Moose feeding on the tree. Many trunks and branches were eaten in the area. / © K.P. McFarland

Sara Zahendra collects fresh scat from the calf for the study. / © K.P. McFarland

Finally, we arrive at our goal – urine on snow. The calf has just left a sample for us to collect. Jake Debow entices Sara to small it. The deep fragrance of Balsam Fir is hard to miss! / © K.P. McFarland

Sara places a small amount of snow urine into Jake’s bag for laboratory analysis. This sample, combined with many others, will give them information on the calf’s health and nutrition. / © K.P. McFarland



Outdoor Radio is produced in collaboration with Vermont Public Radio with support from the Jack and Dorothy Byrne Foundation.

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