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.