(Durham, NH) - UNH researchers say the winter ticks are killing moose at an alarming rate.

Credit: Dan Bergeron, NH Fish & Game Department

The weather is a factor in the increase in winter ticks that are endangering the moose population in New Hampshire and western Maine.

Winters seem to have gotten warmer, fall has lingered longer and spring comes in to bloom earlier, and UNH researchers say the tick population has swelled.

According officials, the tick infestation is the primary cause of an unprecedented 70 per cent death rate of moose calves over a three year period.

The study of dead moose calves revealed an average of 43,371 ticks on each calf causing emaciation and severe metabolic imbalance from blood loss, which was the primary cause of death.

The study was published in the Canadian Journal of Zoology.