Declining moose numbers prompt online surveys ahead of 50th North American moose conference


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 2, 2016.

Reported declines in the moose population have prompted the Canadian Parks & Wilderness Society (CPAWS) to seek answers from experts and the public in the hope of preventing the species from becoming threatened like its relative the woodland caribou. The group will be in attendance at the 50th North American Moose Conference to present findings from an anonymous survey undertaken in Ontario and to promote a new Manitoba based survey.  The information collected will help to identify possible opportunities for successful recovery and management of moose and to inform an upcoming Manitoba public education report about the species and the challenges they face. The two provinces share a border of roughly 1000km of moose habitat with the moose population straddling both sides.

‘We know that harvesters, academics, managers, elders and others across the province hold a wealth of knowledge related to moose population numbers and moose management so we are encouraging everyone with relevant knowledge to participate in this survey to help inform us and create solutions” says Ron Thiessen, Executive Director of CPAWS Manitoba.

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 local economies and food security. Ensuring their populations are self-sustaining and healthy is key to ensuring the continuation of these services and a sustainable moose harvest.

Moose appear to be thriving in some regions and declining in others but many moose experts are concerned that a lack of available population data available across both provinces poses a challenge for wildlife managers.  

‘Increasing dialogue, information sharing and equitable participation of all interested and affected groups in the development and implementation of management strategies will strengthen efforts to ensure  moose populations thrive.’ says Dave Pearce, Forest Conservation Manager with CPAWS Wildlands League.

Moose mortality is influenced by multiple factors. When their combined fatality toll is greater than the capacity for the population to reproduce, a population will disappear over time.

Predation, suitable habitat availability, hunting, parasites and diseases such as winter tick and brain-worm, which is spread by white tailed deer, are some of the more prevalent factors. Though moose have always negotiated these kinds of forces on the landscape, changes to their habitat including those brought on by climate change and industrial activities, can exacerbate their impact. Linear disturbances like roads and hydro corridors can create easy access to moose for predators, disease transmitters, and hunters, increasing the potential for moose mortality in a region.

The Manitoba survey is available online here. Paper copies can be requested by calling 204-949-0782. Information from the survey will be made available on the CPAWS Manitoba website once it is compiled.

The Ontario survey is available on the CPAWS Wildlands League website.

The 50th North American Moose Conference and 8th International Moose Symposium take place in Brandon, Manitoba from September 6-10.  CPAWS Manitoba's attendance at this event is in part thanks to the generous support of The Winnipeg Foundation.

For additional information contact:
Ron Thiessen, Executive Director, CPAWS Manitoba at 204 794 4971 or ron@cpawsmb.org
Dave Pearce, Forest Conservation Manager, CPAWS Wildlands League (Ontario) dave@wildlandsleague.org