‘Is­land moose pop­u­la­tions are healthy’

The Compass - - NEWS -

more time to bag a moose.

A five-year moose manage­ment plan will also be es­tab­lished.

“ We have reviewed our cur­rent ap­proach to manage­ment of this species, and we have de­ter­mined that a num­ber of changes are war­ranted,” John­son said. “ Th­ese changes will pos­i­tively im­pact our abil­ity to ad­e­quately man­age this par­tic­u­lar an­i­mal. Over­all, is­land moose pop­u­la­tions are healthy, with to­tal is­land es­ti­mates at ap­prox­i­mately 120,000.”

In the west­ern/cen­tral New­found­land Moose Manage­ment Ar­eas ( MMAs), the sea­son will now close Jan. 2. In the east­ern MMAs, the sea­son will end Jan. 23.

The min­is­ter noted the changes would also ad­dress some of the con­cerns re­gard­ing for­est health in re­mote re­gions of the prov­ince.

“ In­creased hunt­ing pres­sure in th­ese ar­eas will as­sist in con­trol­ling habi­tat degra­da­tion caused by moose over-brows­ing for­est veg­e­ta­tion,” added John­son.

More needed

Mean­while Eu­gene Nip­pard, chair­man of the Save Our Peo­ple Ac­tion Com­mit­tee feels the changes are a good first step, but much more is needed to re­duce the num­ber of moose-ve­hi­cle ac­ci­dents.

“ We’re not pleased with the num­ber of moose li­censes is­sued. We were hop­ing for a lot more, es­pe­cially for ar­eas along our high­ways, but that wasn’t ad­dressed,” said Nip­pard, who re­sides in Grand Falls-Win­sor. “ We wanted moose bar­ri­ers/ fenc­ing as well, but it seems like that’s all on the back burner.”

Pub­lic sup­port

Nip­pard was in a car that hit a moose six years ago. He and two oth­ers were hos­pi­tal­ized.

“I got scars to take to my grave and my niece was in­jured too,” he said. “ Thank God, none of us was killed, but it gave us a bad fright.”

Nip­pard be­lieves gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials are tak­ing his group se­ri­ously.

“ They have no other choice, they know we have the sup­port of the pub­lic be­hind us so they have to lis­ten,” he said.

He cred­its the premier for mak­ing the changes.

“A few weeks ago he said some­thing had to be done to con­trol the moose pop­u­la­tion and it was,” says Nip­pard.

He also praises mem­bers of the Op­po­si­tion for sup­port­ing his com­mit­tee by tabling a pe­ti­tion, on their be­half, in the House of As­sem­bly.

“ There were 28,000 names on that pe­ti­tion and that gave our goal, to keep moose off our high­ways, a good push,” he says. “

Ac­cord­ing t o Nip­pard t he amount of brush be­ing cut from the sides of the road has in­creased sig­nif­i­cantly. “It’s gone from 20 to 50 per cent. We’re pretty happy about that,” he says.

Nui­sance moose

More than 700 moose-ve­hi­cle col­li­sions hap­pen in New­found­land and Labrador ev­ery year. By Septem­ber 2009, four peo­ple had died af­ter their cars hi t moose on the prov­ince’s high­ways. Ac­ci­dents are re­ported year-round but more than 70 per cent of them oc­cur be­tween May and Oc­to­ber.

Along with the new changes, Nip­pard and his group would like to see the cre­ation of spe­cial li­censes to al­low hunters to kill “ nui­sance” moose.

“ Th­ese li­censes could be pur­chased at gov­ern­ment of­fices for about $100 by those who qual­ify to hunt big game,” ex­plains Nip­pard. “A moose hot­line would be es­tab­lished so mo­torists who en­counter a nui­sance an­i­mal along the road­way could report the an­i­mals lo­ca­tion. Then some­one with one of th­ese li­censes could be con­tacted and asked to shoot the moose. This is a pro­gram we would like to see in place year-round and not just dur­ing the fall hunt­ing sea­son.”

Nip­pard says his group will con­tinue to dog gov­ern­ment to keep moose off the prov­ince’s high­ways.

“ There’s one moose for ev­ery four peo­ple in the prov­ince and that’s way too many moose. If we re­duce the num­ber of moose, we are go­ing to re­duce the num­ber of ac­ci­dents and that’s our aim,” he said.

Photo Sub­mit­ted

MORE NEEDED - Eu­gene Nip­pard, chair­man of the Save Our Peo­ple Ac­tion Com­mit­tee, feels the new reg­u­la­tions aimed at bet­ter man­ag­ing the prov­ince’s moose pop­u­la­tion are a good first step, but much more is needed to re­duce the num­ber of moo­seve­hi­cle ac­ci­dents.

Photo by Gary Heb­bard/The Tele­gram

Provin­cial Wildlife Di­rec­tor John Blake (left), En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter Char­lene John­son and Trans­porta­tion and Works Min­is­ter Tom Hed­der­son are seen at a news con­fer­ence an­nounc­ing new measures to con­trol the prov­ince’s moose pop­u­la­tion and in­crease driver safety.

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