Garner, D.L. 1989. Ecology of the moose and the feasibility for translocation into the Greater Adirondack Ecosystem. M.S. Thesis, SUNY ESF, Syracuse, 118 pp.

Abstract: Ecology of the moose (Alces alces) and the feasibility for translocation into the Greater Adirondack Ecosystem (GAE) were examined. Four free-ranging adult male moose were radio collared and monitored to assess seasonal movements and home range size. Collections of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) heads and pellets were examined to determine the present incidence and distribution of brainworm (Parelaphostrongylus tenuis). Potential ecological factors controlling P. tenuis infection in deer and moose were also investigated. The biological feasibility of the GAE to support a self-sustaining moose population was determined.

Seasonal movements and home range size of moose were investigated via radio telemetry. Average rate of movements varied significantly (P < 0.001) among years, among seasons within years, and among individuals. Mean rate of movement during summer was 0.4 km/day, while mean rate of movement during winter was o.2 km/day. Movements increased tenfold during fall rut as compared to other seasons. Summer home ranges were significantly (P < 0.10) larger than winter home ranges.

Sixty nine (45.7%) of 151 deer heads examined, contained adult P. tenuis. The proportion of infected individuals was not significantly different between males and females. Incidence was significantly greater in the adult age class as compared to the juvenile age class (P < 0.01). Deer pellet samples were examined for incidence of P. tenuis-like larvae. Overall incidence in the GAE was 60.1%. The effect of precipitation and male deer harvest on incidence of P. tenuis in deer was not significant (P> 0.05%).

Food, cover, and climate in the GAE are suitable for moose. Present incidence levels of brainworm in the GAE are not different from levels found in regions now supporting substantial moose populations. Population models suggest that a trap and transfer program would increase the probability of successful reoccupation of the GAE by moose.