Moose - the majestic loners of northern woods - are dwindling sharply.
A rise in moose die-offs has been reported in Minnesota, Montana, Wyoming and other parts of the Rocky Mountains, according to recent reports in the Bangor Daily News and the New York Times. In Minnesota, moose populations have dropped so steeply that the state canceled its annual hunt in February.
Moose populations in New Hampshire also appear to be in trouble. Only populations in Maine, where temperatures have dropped but still remain relatively cold, seem stable, according to the reports.
VIDEO: Ticks: Bloodsucking Ninjas of Summer
One big factor appears to be ticks - and a climate that is warming up to their liking.
Death by ticks is a gradual, miserable end. Up to 150,000 of the insects can infect a single moose. The ticks weaken the animals, whose males reach about 7 feet in height and up to 1,800 pounds in weight. Covered in blood-sucking ticks, the moose scratch so much, their fur rubs off. They develop anemia and become emaciated.