By Carol McCracken (Post # 2,152)
“Outdoor recreation is an essential part of Maine life,” said Todd Martin, outreach coordinator for the National Resources Council of Maine. “Shorter winters and hotter summers are causing stressful new changes to our environment.” Martin’s comments came yesterday at a press conference introducing a new report – “Ticked Off America’s Outdoor Experience and Climate Change,” just published by the National Wildlife Federation. The press conference was held at the Baxter Woods Trail on Stevens Avenue in Portland.
“Tick-borne diseases, including Lyme, Anaplasmosis and Babesia continue to be reported in Maine, some in record numbers,” said Dr. Sheila Pennette, Director of the Maine Center for Disease Control. “With warm moist weather from May through September, Maine people are more active outdoors along with our active tick population. As a result, Maine providers have already reported more cases of Anaplasmosis so far this year than were reported in all of 2013.” Dr. Pennett advises the public to check themselves and their pets carefully for ticks. She cautioned that if you ignore ticks for more than three months, some damage can be done to yourself and your pets. If you take care of the situation quickly, damage can be avoided. “We can all live in harmony in a healthy environment,” she said.
“There are many very serious problems caused by the warming climate,” said George Smith, outdoor writer and former executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine. “I am especially concerned about our native brook trout that require very cold water. They have already all but vanished from southern and central Maine due to warming waters. I am also worried about Maine’s moose as ticks are killing Maine’s herd. especially calves, in alarming numbers.”
“Because of inaction on climate change our moose population is falling. Ticks are with moose all winter and they are stressed by ticks,” said Eric Orff, former wildlife biologist with the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department and outreach coordinator for the National Wildlife Federation. In April of this year, 60 moose were tagged in the State of Maine. Fifty percent of those moose have since been found dead. Tick infestations on them were the major contributing factor to their deaths, according to Orff. Because of the declining population in Maine of moose, hunting licenses were cut by 25% this year. Last year 4,000 hunting licenses were issued; this year only 3,000 were issued because of the decreased population.
“The time to act on climate change is now if we hope to avoid the rapid expansion of pest species in Maine and preserve the outdoor activities we love,” said Martin. “The Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed rule to slash CO2 emissions from domestic power plants, our nation’s single largest source of CO2, is a great first step and we urge Maine Senators Collins and King to do all they can in Washington, D.C. to see that the plan is adopted and implemented swiftly.”
Read the report at wwwnrcm.org/wpcontent/uploads/2014/08/TickedOffreport.pdf