‘The Maine Question’ asks how ticks threaten Maine moose

The moose has become so synonymous with Maine that it serves as the state animal. Residents and tourists alike scout the forests and mountains to catch at least a glimpse of this majestic mammal, and their odds aren’t too slim. Maine has the highest wild moose population in the lower 48 states, with 60,000–80,000 roaming the woods. Their population is considered stable, but it faces a tiny, yet lethal, threat: winter ticks.  

Moose populations along the southern edge of their range in the U.S. have been declining due to winter ticks, or moose ticks, and other parasites. Some moose carry as many as 70,000 ticks. Calves are especially at risk, as those with heavy tick loads often die in their first winter. Pauline Kamath, an assistant professor of animal health at the University of Maine, is studying the impact of ticks on moose survival. 

In Episode 8 of Season 5 of “The Maine Question,” Kamath discusses winter ticks and how they threaten the viability of Maine’s state animal. 

Listen to the podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, SoundCloud, Stitcher, Spotify or “The Maine Question” website. New episodes are added Thursdays.

What topics would you like to learn more about? What questions do you have for UMaine experts? Email them to mainequestion@maine.edu.