Reported declines in the moose population have prompted the Canadian Parks & Wilderness Society (CPAWS) to seek answers from experts and the public though a short, anonymous online survey in the hope of informing discussions aimed at ensuring thriving moose populations in Manitoba.
The survey will be available online until October 31, 2016. The information collected will help to identify possible opportunities for collaborative efforts and to inform public education about the species and the challenges they face.
We know that harvesters, academics, managers, elders and others across the province hold a wealth of knowledge related to moose populations and approaches to moose sustainability so we are encouraging everyone interested to participate in this survey.
We believe that increasing dialogue, information sharing and equitable participation of all interested and affected groups is key to ensuring moose populations flourish into the future.
To complete the survey over the phone or to request a paper copy, call us at 204.949.0782
Moose have been an iconic player on the landscape for thousands of years. They are an important food source and a significant thread in the cultural fabric of many Indigenous communities. Their presence plays an important ecological role and helps to support food security and economic opportunities including guiding and outfitting operations. Ensuring their populations are self-sustaining and healthy is key to ensuring the continuation of these services and a sustainable moose harvest.
As the largest member of the deer family, the moose is a striking emblem of the Canadian wilderness. Second in size only to the bison on the North American landscape, a full grown a male can stand over 6 feet high at the shoulder and weigh in at 1500lbs. This herbivores bulk is sustained with a voracious appetite; a healthy animal can eat 40 to 60lbs of vegetation in a day. Stripping leaves and bark off young stems with a long tongue and flexible upper lip, it is this near constant pastime that no doubt gave the moose its name derived from the Algonquin word ‘mooswa’ meaning ‘twig eater’.
Throughout their range, the rutting season is heralded with the haunting bellow of the bull as he searches for a mate. Bulls are easily identified by their impressive set of antlers which can reach 150cm across and weigh as much as 60 lbs. As one of the fastest growing animal tissues, moose antlers are grown annually over the summer and shed every winter or spring. Used to impress potential mates and challenge rivals bulls, their antlers also offer formidable defense against predation from bears and wolves.
The most effective defense of the moose may lie in their ability to remain undetected. Guided by acute senses of smell and hearing, moose belie their own conspicuous size and clumsy appearance in their silent navigation through even the most dense forest habitats.
As one of the most widely distributed mammals in Canada, the moose can be found in every one of our provinces and territories. Although the Manitoba population is possibly stable overall, some regions of the province have seen steep declines in moose numbers in recent years. This has raised concern of many whom recognize the importance of this species to Manitoba’s environmental, cultural, and economic landscape. Some management strategies have come into effect to help recover the species regions of special concern. CPAWS encourages you to stay updated on the provincial status of this majestic giant of our northern forests.
Photo Credits: Ron Thiessen