A Canadian couple recently captured footage of a pair of rare white moose. What are the odds of these awesome animals?
A northern Ontario couple was treated to a rare sighting of not one but two white ‘spirit moose,’ and they managed to capture the magical experience on camera.
Nicole Leblanc of Timmins, Ont., tells CTVNews.ca that she and her husband were driving to their camp near Foleyet, Ont., on Saturday afternoon when the two moose crossed Highway 101. The moose are not technically albino. Their colour is the result of a recessive gene sometimes called the Armstrong White Gene Strain, according to an article from the Ontario government.
In order to protect the rare moose, the province has banned harvesting any moose that is more than 50 per cent white-coloured in the areas near Timmins, Chapleau and Foleyet.
Leblanc and her husband aren’t the only people wowed by the sighting. More than 200,000 people have clicked on the video that Leblanc shared on Facebook on Sunday.
“People are amazed,” Leblanc said. “It’s not every day that you get to see it and I was able to tape it … It’s a beauty to see.”
Here’s the video of the ‘spirit moose’ sighting (2018).
Here’s a video pair of white moose in 2017. These don’t look super healthy.
Same moose pair here? (Also 2017)
How rare is a white “spirit moose”?
According to mooseworld, there are about 1 million moose in 9 provinces and 3 territories in Canada. How many are white?
An article on all-about-moose says unnamed “local biologists” in Vermont gave the odds of a white moose at 100,000 to 1. Another statistic said there are only about 100 white moose in Sweden, out of the 300,000 to 400,000 moose there, making the odds a better there at about 3,500 to 1.
White Moose Twins?
Do the rare white moose find each other across vast distances, or are they relatives? At least some are close relatives. Last year there were healthy looking twin white moose calfs spotted in Norway.
Out of more than a million moose across the Northern Hemisphere, two twin moose calves don’t quite look like the rest. While taking a brief gander out of the woods, the two young, all-white moose were captured on video with their mother during a rare sighting in Norway. Large moose populations are found throughout northern Europe, and thousands currently live in Norway. (Watch a Rare Video of a Moose Shedding an Antler)
The calves, which Maine’s state deer and moose biologist, Lee Kantar, said appear to be less than a month old due to their size and mobility, were likely born in mid-May—most calves are born around May 15 each year. Twin moose, although born at a smaller size, are also common. … Both albino and piebald moose are protected animals in parts of Canada where sightings are rare but have occurred, and legislation prohibits hunters from taking a moose that is predominantly white in color.
Where are the Moose of Planet Earth?
Moose are found in Alaska, Canada and Northern Europe, from Norway to Siberia. They usually live in forests in cooler climates.
Warning: Up to this point, this has been a nice article about interesting rare creatures, but there is a darker side to some white moose fur. You may want to stop reading if you are on a diet of happy news.
The Spirit Moose Vs Ghost Moose
A healthy white spirit moose is not to be confused with the “ghost moose.” Many unfortunate moose have patches of white due to disease. Dr. Bill Samuel, a retired biologist and ghost moose expert at the University of Alberta in Canada, has examined the problems causes for moose by winter ticks. When tens or even hundreds of thousands attack and attach to a single animal, it has great blood loss, becomes anemic and its odds of survival decrease.
Generally speaking, as long as temperatures stay below 35° F, ticks remain inactive. Nymphal ticks can become active even in the winter if the weather gets warm enough.
Unfortunately the tick problem has been getting worse. The National Wildlife Federation said ticks accounted for 41% of all moose deaths in New Hampshire over a five-year period. In 2014, 64% of moose died because of ticks, and the rate of tick-related death is rising. An October 17, 2018 article in Science Daily says winter ticks are killing moose at an alarming rate.
It does get worse. There is not only blood loss but also disease that can attack the brain of the moose.
Tick Borne Illness
In addition to draining the animal’s blood, some ticks (not all) transmit diseases to the moose. According to a wildlife story in Maine, one man came upon a moose who looked sickly and dazed. It was walking around and around in circles.
He realized immediately that the moose suffered from the end stages of a terrible tick-borne disease which eventually affects the moose’s brain. After conferring with headquarters and Fish and Game, he took his rifle from the trunk and shot it, putting it out of its misery.
“It was delicious,” he added. (He said that the Fish and Game told him the disease does not taint the meat for human consumption.) Via MidlifeInMaine
How is that guy years later? I do not recommend eating any diseased animals, but people do.
(Maine) taxidermists and butchers specializing in moose and deer report that employees wear Tyvek suits and apply tick repellent to protect themselves when handling the tick-infested animals. Big carnivores do not touch the carcasses.
Do I Have Lyme Disease?
For the past two months I’ve had symptoms which could be second stage Lyme disease; twitching muscles, a sore spreading stiffness, a stabbing chest pain that woke me screaming, a rapid onset of many cracking and popping joints, muscle cramping, headaches, swollen glands, aches, burning feet, exhaustion and a feeling of fever in my joints for months. My tests for the Lyme bacteria are negative, so it could be something else, but I have my doubts.
There are claims of rampant false negative Lyme tests due to several reasons including arbitrarily high positive test requirements set by a political agenda to save money for healthcare insurance providers.
If you have long term untreated Lyme disease in the USA, where research is ignored or discounted if inconvenient, you may be diagnosed with “hidden stress” and since the Lyme spirochetes hide from the immune system and cause physical damage as well as mental stress, this is not, technically, an incorrect diagnosis.
Risk Factors for Lyme
I have risk factors for Lyme in addition to recent symptoms. For one, I tent camped around the USA and did a lot of hiking, walking in 48 states over 3 months, including in places with deer and ticks. Most tick bites are from tiny nymph ticks people never even notice.
Also, my fiance died two years ago of late stage Lyme. Years before we met, she woke up in a cabin in the woods covered by fifty ticks. She had the characteristic red bullseye marks and never took antibiotics. She tried many things as symptoms developed and she got better at times, but worsened over the years. I didn’t learn she was bitten by ticks until after she died, but I knew that two of her boyfriends before me died within months of each other, one from a heart atack.
Is Lyme an STD? Most don’t think so. I know long term partners where only one has the disease. Sexual transmission between partners seems possible, however, according to one study.
“The presence of the Lyme spirochete in genital secretions and identical strains in married couples strongly suggests that sexual transmission of the disease occurs,” said Dr. Mayne.
The Journal of Investigative Medicine 2014;62:280-281.
Perhaps, but the jury is still out.
Dormant Slow Killer
The Lyme bacteria can hang around dormant for years. In one documented case, a man went 14 years without chronic symptoms, then experienced 13 years of symptoms. No one knows what makes it stay dormant or what brings it out.
Like syphilis, Lyme disease can lie dormant in the body for years without creating symptoms and then cause progressive nervous systemproblems such as memory loss, researchers said Wednesday.
Findings from a study of 27 people with the disease indicate the corkscrew-shaped bacterium which causes it ‘can survive latently for years in the nervous system,’ said Dr. Allen Steere, director of the Lyme Disease Clinic at the New England Medical Center in Boston.
In a manner that is ‘like what occurs in syphilis, we found Lyme infection can have long periods of latency and then cause slowly progressive disease’ leading to chronic problems including memory loss, fatigue, sleep disorders, numbness and spinal pain, Steere said.
… In most people, prompt antibiotic treatment can kill Lyme infection and prevent delayed symptoms that often include arthritis-like joint pain.
Quality of Life
I know several people with Lyme and their quality of life can get very bad, especially when it eventually gets into the brain. I’m not looking forward to a mentally debilitating phase, but people do get through periods of not being able to think, drive or even to hold a fork. People do live long lives with Lyme.
For now, the best bet is to do everything possible to stay as healthy as possible for as long as possible. This may mean a lifetime of low grade antibiotic therapies (eg. tetracycline class antibiotics,) vitamins or dietary modifications.
I hope I don’t start walking in circles.
Quality of life is day to day. Some days are filled with insults, but we must make the most of it. Enjoy the gifts of each day, including the amazing little things, like a white moose surprise.