Why this mangy moose near Kelowna lost it's winter coat so fast | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Why this mangy moose near Kelowna lost it's winter coat so fast

This moose is believed to have lost so much hair because of ticks.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Dave Schanoski

A moose suffering from major hair loss in the Kelowna area has a winter tick infection, but despite the nasty state of the animal’s health, concerns over ticks don’t appear to be worse than normal this year.

The moose was photographed recently in Myra-Bellevue Provincial Park.

After the photo was shared with the B.C. Conservation Officer Service, ticks were confirmed as the reason behind the hair loss.

“This moose has a winter tick infection which leads to hair loss and the white appearance,” Nigel McInnis with the Ministry of Natural Resource Operations said in an email.

Ben Stourac of Arcadia Outfitting Ltd. in West Kelowna said that while ticks tend to come out this time of year, he hasn’t noticed them in greater numbers, but added that it’s still early in the season. 

READ MORE: Tick season has arrived in Okanagan, Kamloops

“Typically they are worst in March and April, then start slowing down because they’ve already transferred to most of their hosts for the summer,” he said.

The ministry has an infographic about tick-infested moose, and the moose in the photo appears to be suffering from hair loss on the more extreme end of the scale.

Image Credit: SUBMITTED

The province monitors tick-infected moose through the Moose Winter Tick Survey, which runs every year from January to April.

When members of the public spot a moose that has lost significant amounts of hair, they can report it to wildlife biologists through the winter tick survey web page.

Ticks are known for carrying Lyme disease which can infect humans, although the most common among the local parasites – the Rocky Mountain wood tick – doesn’t carry Lyme disease.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Dan Walton or call 250-488-3065 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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