Once common, iconic Canadian animal now in sharp decline in Ontario
TORONTO-CPAWS Wildlands League is calling on the Ontario government to end the hunting of moose calves in the province in light of sharp declines experienced in the last ten years. Once a common species, moose have declined by 20% in the last decade as reported by the Environmental Commissioner last year. Moose have also declined across its North American range prompting several jurisdictions to take action.
“There are more moose hunters than moose in the province,” said Janet Sumner, Executive Director of the group. “And most that don’t receive a tag to hunt an adult are still eligible to hunt a calf,” Sumner added. Only adult moose are restricted in terms of the numbers that can be hunted in the province.
“When it comes to moose, Ontario is pretty lax. Even the hunters we’ve spoken to think it’s time for more restrictions to provide the population some breathing room to recover,” Sumner said.
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry will be making a decision on hunting in the next two months to determine how many tags it will hand out for the coming fall. Wildlands League is asking the MNRF to halt the calf hunt at the same time and will be calling on citizens to let Ontario know their views on the calf hunt.
“In addition, we’re asking the province to fund more enforcement and monitoring to support science-based decision making,” says Dave Pearce, Forest Manager for the group. “And we want to see the creation of Moose Refuge Areas,” Pearce added. These would be areas off limits to roads that would help safeguard the habitat so that populations could be replenished.
Wildlands League began investigating the moose decline a year ago. Challenges to the population are numerous and interacting. These could include parasites (including winter tick, brain worm, and liver fluke), habitat loss, hunting pressure, disease, and predation. Climate change might make all this worse. Wildlands League’s proposed actions are about giving moose a chance to recover in the near term.
Wildlands League has just published a new infographic on the decline of moose in Ontario. It can be found at www.wildlandsleague.org/project/moose/ along with information on our newest project.
For more information please contact:
Dave Pearce, Forest Manager, 416-807-8340 mobile