Follow my blog as I explore the mammals of Nova Scotia!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Moose in Nova Scotia

Yesterday I asked you to inquire about the moose population in Nova Scotia and why there are so many less moose here than the deer. Some of the thoughts included:
* not enough camouflage to stay hidden
* too big of antlers
* sharing food with the deer (and the deer hogging it all)
* people hunting them
* their prey diminishing too
* people destroying their forest space (their home)
* forest fire
* climate change

These are all fantastic thoughts! Often they would be the cause of declining population of animals. However, that is not the case with the moose in Nova Scotia...

What has happened

The white tail deer have wiped out the moose population here in Nova Scotia (unintentionally) with a parasite known as "brainworm". This worm is transferred through the snails and slugs on the ground and when the moose eat the grass they are also eating the brainworm. This parasite has evolved over years within deer and snails, and does not cause harm to them. However, moose have had little exposure to the brain worm. Moose have not had time to adapt and defend itself against the brain worm.

Questions for your class (you can post answers if you want)
*
What are some ways the moose could possibly adapt to "beat" the brainworm?
* What happens if the moose is able to adapt and "beat" the brainworm?
* What happens if the moose cannot adapt to "beat" the brainworm?

If you want to read more about the brainworm and to see how it has impacted moose in Minnesota visit the DNR website below!

http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/volunteer/sepoct97/brainworm.html

3 Comments:

At April 14, 2009 at 2:25 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Martin would like to know what does the brain worm do to the moose?

 
At April 14, 2009 at 4:59 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

How could the moose adapt?
They could change what they eat – eat tree bark and leaves instead – things that are not on the ground

What happens if they adapt and beat the brainworm?
They will survive and have babies so there will be more moose

What happens if the moose cannot adapt?
They will die and not have kids.
They will be extinct.
-Mrs. Patel's Class

 
At April 14, 2009 at 7:34 PM , Blogger Miss Beeman said...

Martin,
That is a great question! The simple answer is that the brainworm is a parasite and it attaches itself to the nervous system of the moose. Eventually the moose looses it's ability to function- like walk, eat, defend itself, etc. It's brain looks like swiss cheese at the end and the moose dies.

If you want to read more about it, go to http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/volunteer/sepoct97/brainworm.html

-Miss Beeman

 

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