Tick magnets

There seems to be less sheep on the moors nowadays. Not sure if this is a deliberate policy.  Certainly, in other upland areas, there are concerns about over grazing. At one-time moorland farmers were actively encouraged to graze their sheep on the moors by gamekeepers. The sheep would act as magnets for ticks which also infected grouse chicks causing the transmission of a viral disease by the name of Louping Ill Virus. This could devastate the grouse population. Regular dipping would clear the sheep of ticks. Now with hardly any dipping being done, the tick population is once again soaring, however vaccination of sheep to control ticks has been shown to reduce the incidence of louping ill in red grouse.

The photo was taken on Newton Moor, a small area of heather moorland which is part of the National Trust’s¬† Roseberry Topping property.

Tick magnets map

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