How many moose are in the Adirondack Park?
Biologists from ESF's Roosevelt Wild Life Station and NY DEC have completed winter aerial surveys for moose that indicate about 397 moose roamed the Adirondack Park in winter 2016 (95% confidence interval ranged 298 - 522 moose). Aerial surveys were conducted by helicopter in the deepest part of winter to ensure the best opportunities for sighting moose from the air. Teams of 4, a pilot and 3 observers, flew standardized survey routes and recorded every moose (and deer) seen along transects, along with variables that affected their ability to detect animals such as group size, activity, vegetative cover, cloud cover, and snow cover. Using a statistical method called 'Distance Sampling', the team quantified the probability of detecting moose during their surveys (~51% chance of spotting a moose when the team flew over one) and used the probability of detection to correct the number of animals seen and estimate the entire population. Although the total number of moose was less than anticipated at the start of our surveys, the population appears to be in good physical condition with many calves seen accompanying females each year. The team will survey again during winter 2018.
Moose don't live forever. How do they die in NY?
A summary of 100 known mortalities of moose, recorded between 2000 and 2014, is given at left. These mortalities were "opportunistically" detected, typically animals found dead along roads or acting strangely in and around centers of human activity (which ultimately led to their death).
These data are useful for disease surveillance in that they identify sources of mortality in a populations -- such as brain worm (Parelaphostrongylus tenuis), starvation, and hyperthermia. But on their own they cannot tell us how important these mortality causes are to the population without additional information on how many animals survive these threats.