Moose Again

The Victoria Standard - - Commentary -

I seem to be hav­ing some sort of a con­ver­sa­tion with Jim St. Clair through The Vic­to­ria Stan­dard. It’s prob­a­bly one of the rea­sons for hav­ing com­mu­nity news­pa­pers, to al­low and en­cour­age this sort of ex­change – here’s hoping that’s so.

The re­cent item about moose was a story I’d heard be­fore, but for­got­ten. 9000 an­i­mals slaugh­tered in 1789 alone; the car­cass left to rot since it was the skins which were valu­able, and the stench of it so bad, sailors along the shore could smell it.

It might seem like an ex­ag­ger­a­tion, but then the species was to­tally wiped out in Cape Bre­ton, as also the cari­bou, and on the prairies the buf­falo, more than a mil­lion of them.

Hope­fully we have a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of a bal­ance of na­ture now, and a more gen­er­ous con­sid­er­a­tion of other species.

How­ever, with the moose slaugh­ter car­ried on in the Cape Bre­ton High­lands Na­tional Park last year, and I think the year be­fore, one might call into ques­tion what we’ve learned, or whether we’ve learned any­thing.

I un­der­stand the ex­cuse for the slaugh­ter is that there are too many moose and they are eat­ing small trees on the High­land so their num­ber needs to be re­duced – as if there weren’t too many trees al­ready in Cape Bre­ton, as if grass­land was some­thing to be de­spised, as if much of the High­land plateau might not have been grass­land be­fore Euro­pean hunters up­set the pic­ture.

Maybe the haz­ard to traf­fic on the Cabot Trail might jus­tify a re­duc­tion in the pop­u­la­tion (though tourists are mostly keen to see a moose) but to pre­tend to ad­just the bal­ance of na­ture for na­ture’s sake seems a pretty thin ex­cuse.

Chris King Big Bad­deck, N.S.

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