Wolf Management Planned to Help Moose Populations Recover, Stabilize: Blaikie
The Manitoba government is closing all moose hunting near the Duck and Porcupine Mountains following the advice of wildlife experts, Conservation Minister Bill Blaikie announced today. The full conservation closure on moose hunting comes a year after licensed hunting was banned in the same area.
“There has been a serious decline of moose populations in certain areas of our province and if they drop any further, there’s a risk they may not recover,” said Blaikie. “Our hope is that this closure will be short term. We’ll be monitoring the population closely to ensure the actions we are taking are successful.”
Recent surveys show precipitous population declines in Game Hunting Areas (GHAs) 14, 18 and 26 and imbalances in the makeup of the GHA 13 population that puts it at risk of rapid decline, Blaikie said. There will be an immediate, temporary closure to all moose hunting in GHAs 18, 14 and 13 including hunting by treaty and Aboriginal rights holders. The minister added Manitoba Conservation will also be making a decision about moose management in eastern Manitoba soon.
“The province has consulted and continues to have discussions with First Nations and Métis communities affected by the closure,” said Blaikie. “Together, we are exploring other measures such as predator management and limiting access as we work towards the development of a comprehensive moose recovery strategy, as well as a strategy that deals with the impact on affected communities.”
“While this closure will affect many First Nations as well as Métis, most communities, along with wildlife organizations and other stakeholders, have confirmed the concerns identified by our biologists and many support the need for immediate action,” added Blaikie.
In addition to the closure, Manitoba Conservation is moving forward immediately on a wolf management program as wolves are a significant predator of moose in these areas.
The wolf management program includes:
* providing an incentive of $250 to trappers on trap-lines in these areas for harvesting a wolf and providing tissue samples for dietary analysis. The trapper incentive program will be in effect from Oct. 15 to March 31 and up to $80,000 in funding is available;
* continuing the increased bag limit for licensed hunters in these areas to two wolves from one;
* holding more wolf trapping technique workshops; this fall in Duck Mountain, eastern Manitoba and The Pas; and
* determining wolf populations and pack sizes through aerial surveys.
Moose hunting is also closed in Chief George Barker Cooperative Wildlife Area and Chief George Barker Road Refuge, both in GHA 17A, and will remain closed at this time.
More information on the moose hunting closure and the wolf population reduction can be found at www.gov.mb.ca/conservation/wildlife/hunting/biggame/moose/.
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