Paintball guns could help tick-infested moose

A Smithers wildlife shelter is investigating whether paintball guns could be used to shoot treatment powder at moose with tick infestations.

A Smithers wildlife shelter is investigating whether paintball guns could be used to shoot treatment powder at moose with tick infestations.

Winter ticks are a common problem for B.C. moose populations, which are believed to be declining in some parts of the province.

Infestations are believed to reduce survival rates in affected populations but there is no known treatment.

That’s why the Northern Lights Wildlife Society and shelter in Smithers is looking into innovative solutions to help the animals.

Owner Angelika Langen said she had contacted the University of Northern B.C. to help her look into the feasibility of using paintball guns to shoot cattle lice powder at the rumps of affected animals.

“We are trying to figure out if we can create a paintball gun with powder in it which we could shoot onto the moose and it would disperse the powder and that would kill the ticks,” said Langen.

“It’s just an idea and it is in its infant stages so we are a long way away from having something but [we are doing it] because it’s such a serious problem and because it’s believed to cause a lot of death.

“Ticks can take a lot out of the moose.”

Langen said cattle lice powder had been successful treating moose that live at the shelter property, although it had not been administered with a gun.

She stressed the concept might not work and more information was needed before it could be safely tested.

A paintball company is also helping the shelter look into the concept.

Biologist Mike Bridger is running the Moose Winter Tick Surveillance Program, launched last week by the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.

Aimed at identifying the impact that winter ticks are having on moose throughout the province, it asks the public to report sightings of infested moose through an online survey.

They can be identified because the ticks cause them to lose hair.

Bridger said using paintball guns to treat wild animals would be difficult to do on a big scale but he was open to Langen’s idea.

“I think it’s an innovative idea, something worth pursuing maybe, looking into more because as of now there is really not a whole lot of treatment options for moose directly,” he said.

Until a solution is found, he said his project would help the ministry investigate how ticks are distributed and the severity of infestations in different regions.

The survey asks participants to observe the amount of hair loss on the animal they saw by checking a box which best described it, ranging from “no loss” to “ghost.”

Bridger said it was believed the problem was more common and severe in the Smithers area but moose ticks posed no danger to humans.

Meat from infected animals was also safe, he said.

Winter tick infestations usually occur between February and April.

To obtain a copy of the survey contact Mike Bridger at bridger@unbc.ca or phone 250-961-5869.

The survey can also be found online at www.env.gov.bc.ca.

 

Just Posted

Fire burns down barn and workshop near Tyhee Lake

Owner Martin Hennig estimates around $200,000 in uninsured losses after the buildings burned down.

Portugese national concertmaster headlines classical music festival

Spirit of the North festival will feature internationally-renowned musicians to local kids

Mip brings the small town to the big city

“I feel like the small town part of me is really important to have in the city.”

If climate is an emergency, act like it

Council has declared a climate emergency, but is sitting on money that could mitigate its effects

CT scanner officially open in Smithers

As of noon on July 12 the machine had scanned 45 patients, five of which were emergency CT scans.

Feds lowered poverty line, reducing the number of seniors in need: documents

Liberals introduced a poverty line that was below the prior low-income cutoff

$900M settlement reached in class action on sexual misconduct in Canadian military

After facing criticism, the government moved to begin settlement proceedings in early 2018

Tax take stays ahead of increased B.C. government spending

Tax revenue $2.1 billion higher than budget in 2018-19

Two toddler siblings found drowned on First Nation in Alberta

The siblings were found drowned on their family’s property, according to RCMP

Chiefs honour Indigenous leader wrongfully hanged in B.C. 154 years ago today

Chief Joe Alphonse says they want his remains returned to his homeland in B.C.’s Cariboo region

Rare white ravens spotted again on Vancouver Island

Nature photographer Mike Yip said mysterious birds back in Coombs area

B.C. government seeks advice on reviving Interior forest industry

Public website opens as meetings start with community leaders

Psychics, drones being used to search for missing Chilliwack woman with dementia

Drones, psychics, dogs and more have been employed to help find Grace Baranyk, 86

B.C. mom to go to Europe court in hopes of getting alleged abducted daughter back

Tasha Brown alleges her estranged wife abducted their daughter Kaydance Etchells in 2016

Most Read