Ticks suck life from moose

DENVER – Warmer winters are more than just a problem for Colorado’s large skiing population.

The state’s moose also are feeling the impact, in the form of tiny tick bites. Historically, much of the winter tick population dies off as temperatures drop, but moose expert Steve Kilpatrick, the executive director of the Wyoming Wildlife Federation, said the warming climate is ensuring the ticks’ survival and the chance they will glom onto Colorado’s moose population.

“Warmer temperatures just mean higher survival rate of ticks,” Kilpatrick said. “We’re finding more and more tick-loads on moose farther to the north. They can and are impacting moose in a huge way.”

Moose are just one of the animals affected by an increase in pest populations in a new report released by the National Wildlife Federation. Ticked Off: America’s Outdoor Experience and Climate Change found that pests such as ticks and mosquitoes are proliferating as the climate changes.

“There is mounting evidence of a warming climate and the negative impacts associated with it,” said Dr. Doug Inkley, senior scientist and author of the report. “We must take action now, for our children’s future, for our outdoor-experience future.”

Unlike deer ticks, winter ticks are not attracted to humans.