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Dramatic drop in NH moose population raises concern

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New Hampshire Fish and Game officials are trying to determine what has caused a dramatic decrease in the moose population. Wildlife experts speculate changes in the environment, be it through parasites, disease or a different issue. Concern is growing because the dramatic decline has happened rapidly.

Crews will search in northern New Hampshire to tag a large portion of the moose that are left. They will tranquilize the moose, draw blood, and count and collect ticks. Moose tagging will probably occur between January 20 and February 2, 2014.

NH Fish and Game is worried the decline in numbers may be irrevocable.

"We hope to find out if natural mortality has increased since a similar study was done about ten years ago," explained Kristine Rines, NH Fish and Game's moose biologist.

Though hunting permits have also declined, hunting is partly to blame for the drop in moose numbers. The population has decreased 40% since the 1990s. Tick disease may also be to blame.

Crews will search via helicopter over New Hampshire communities looking for moose to tag in an effort to figure out what is causing the fast mortality of a quickly declining population.

The tagged moose will be tracked for four years while the experts follow how long the moose live and when they die. “We'll try to get there as soon as possible to determine cause of death," said Rines.

For more information, please visit New Hampshire Fish and Game.

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