Ontario’s moose are in trouble. It was thought they were doing well in forested landscapes, but people in moose country knew better. In recent years, hunters, outfitters and other northerners spoke of a drop in their numbers. Now the science is in. There is no doubt, in much of the province and in other regions of their range, moose are in trouble. Moose numbers have declined drastically in other jurisdictions so much so that Manitoba has recently suspended moose hunting in 13 areas and Minnesota has completely ended its hunt. This raises questions of our ability to protect wildlife. If Ontario cannot manage to conserve a highly adaptable and beloved species like moose, we may one day find ourselves managing forests emptied of wildlife.
Click to view our Infographic on Ontario’s Moose.
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The Environmental Commissioner’s office released a report, detailing the 20% decline in moose numbers in the last 10 years. In almost half of Ontario’s wildlife management units, calf survival is too low to provide for a healthy population. Moose are an important part of the forest ecosystem as a food source for ravens, wolves and bears. If we do not act to slow and stop their decline, Ontario’s forest would be compromised.
Not only is the protection of moose important for the benefit of the forest ecosystem, moose are culturally significant to Canadians.Their presence helps support northern local economies through tourism, licensed hunting and as subsistence. They enrich our experiences in the woods.
Ontario needs to relieve pressure on the moose population by ending the unsustainable hunting of moose calves. Moose Refuge Areas must be created, where road access is limited and mechanized transport is restricted. These havens allow moose to thrive and recover. Monitoring will be key in ensuring efforts to protect moose are effective in the long run. Finally, enforcement must backstop against losses from poaching and illegal activities such as the use of drone-enabled-hunting. It will take all of us working together to safeguard Ontario’s moose population.
Toronto Star article, February 20, 2017: Does this moose stand a chance?
B93.1FM, February 9, 2017: End To Moose Calf Hunting Proposed
CBC’s The Current, February 7, 2017: Is it time to ban the hunt on moose calves?
Sudbury Star article, February 5, 2017: Group calls for end to calf hunt
Toronto Star editorial, February 5, 2017: Ontario should stop hunt of moose calves: Editorial
CBC Thunder Bay, February 3, 2017: Wildlands League calls on Ontario government to end annual moose calf hunt
Toronto Star article, February 2, 2017: End moose calf hunt, Ontario government urged
Letter to the Editor, Thunder Bay Chronicle Journal, Sunday, November 6, 2016: We need to act quickly to stop decline of moose
Letter to the Editor, Toronto Star, October 31, 2016: Moose decline troubling
End the moose calf hunt – February 2. 2017