Northwest Territories and Yukon partners with tick monitoring app

Residents of the Northwest Territories and Yukon can now report ticks using an app called eTickwhich helps researchers collect data and monitor parasite populations across the country.

Although rare in the North, ticks are not entirely excluded from the list of pesky creatures that can harm humans, pets and wildlife. Experts warn that while the risk of encounter is very low, certain factors – such as migrating birds and climate change – could push them north.

Deer ticks, also known as blacklegged ticks, can carry Lyme disease.

Naima Jutha, a wildlife veterinarian with the Northwest Territories Environment and Natural Resources Department, said deer ticks have not been seen in the Northwest Territories.

“They could come, theoretically, traveling on a dog or on migrating birds or on deer as they start moving further north.”

What the app does

Last week, the Northwest Territories Department of Environment and Natural Resources announced its partnership with the eTick application. It allows people to report any tick sightings through photo submission and helps people identify the type of tick they have found.

Jutha says the ticks found in the Northwest Territories are usually the winter tick, also known as the moose tick. She said climate change could help the species thrive.

“During the warmer season where we have a lot of tick activity, if that gets longer with climate change or warming, then theoretically we could start to see ticks that are more able to survive in the North.”

Why e-Tick is important

The partnership with the eTick app is good for residents, Jutha says, but it’s even more important for the health of wildlife in the Northwest Territories.

“Ticks can actually cause significant changes like skin diseases and hair loss, or even worse, like pretty serious diseases in moose and sometimes even caribou.”

Jeremie Bouffard, project manager and coordinator for eTick, said the tick tracking app is also useful for travel outside of the Northwest Territories. If someone is exposed to a tick in another province or territory, the app provides information about that species.

“Although we don’t see any very dangerous species so far in the territories, this will allow us to identify areas where there may be more submissions over the years and we want to pay particular attention to this place” , Bouffard said. .

The app is free and was made available to all provinces last year, with Yukon joining the app in April. Nunavut is the only territory in Canada that has not joined the app.

Lance B. Holton