A (kind of) brand spanking new study by University of Minnesota & Grand Portage Band scientists found that wolves caused deer & moose to segregate. Wolf predation keeps deer & moose from mingling which decreases white tail deer spreading parasitic brainworm to moose. This is an ecosystem seamlessly working.
Brainworm is a high cause of mortality in adult moose; infection causing them to stumble, behave erratically, walk in circles, & appear paralyzed.
White tail deer host the brainworm, along with a plethora of other parasites, the worm living out it’s life inside the brain of a deer. The brainworm is harmless to deer, call it a biological truce, but is almost always fatal to moose. This parasite (Parelaphostrongylus tenuis) is causing moose populations to dramatically decline.
The study found-
->The majority of moose & deer seasonally migrated with both species preferentially different to habitat selection.
->Moose & deer intermingle during spring migration, & summertime- both being the highest time for brainworm transmission.
->Wolves predation put pressure on both species, thus causing a greater natural segregation between the two across habitats, which reduced the transmission risk of P. tenuis.
Wolves PROVE to provide a natural protective benefit from parasitic transmission.
Wolves keep deer & moose apart, NATURALLY working to spare moose from a deadly parasite spread by deer.
For centuries, moose have co-existed with wolves.
White tail deer? Only in the last century, but in the last 50 years deer have been pushed into moose territory, bringing parasites with them.
P. Tenuis infected deer do not show signs because they are the normal host. Abnormal hosts- moose, mule deer, elk, caribou may display the following:
• ataxia (unsteady gait, loss of voluntary muscle control)
• general weakness
• apparent deafness and/or blindness
• unusual head tilt or neck position
• inability to feed/forage
⁃ With wolf pressure, deer & moose used the landscape differently. During winter deer occupy lowlands, while moose favor highlands.
– When there were fewer wolves around, deer & moose would overlap, increasing the risk that moose would pick up brainworm from the deer.
The wolf is a keystone species is indispensable to keep HEALTHY balanced ecosystems.
Stop killing wolves!