Save Our Moose
For the past number of years there has been an active campaign to drastically reduce the number of moose in the province of Newfoundland & Labrador. This campaign would have moose management shift away from a scientific, logic based management strategy to an emotional, fear response management strategy. The number of moose-vehicle collisions has been used to grossly misrepresent moose populations throughout the province. These numbers are being presented and decisions are being made that could adversely affect the future viability of a long held cultural tradition of going out and hunting moose for food and sport. Non-resident hunting in the province provides between $30-40 million dollars annually for provincial coffers. If one includes both direct and indirect economic benefits of hunting, from residents, then the number (conservatively) could be double that mentioned above! Thus, with a dramatic reduction in moose population there would also be a reduction in the economic spinoffs from the harvesting of these animals and a large loss of employment for those involved in this type of work.
As mentioned above, over the last decade there has been an increase in the number of moose-vehicle collisions. However, we believe that there are a variety of reasons for this. These include, but not limited to, the following: 1) Loss of habitat; 2) Increase in average speed combined with weather and time of day; 3) Increase in the number of distractions for drivers.
With the status of a “have province”, there has been an increase in construction province wide. Areas that were once forested have been lost to an ever expanding urban development. This loss of habitat has caused large game animals, like moose, to compete for space. Many times moose are traveling newly constructed roads (like the outer ring road in St. John’s) as corridors to traverse from one segment of habitat to the other. This brings them into direct competition with humans. Unfortunately, often times leading to moose-vehicle collisions.
Likewise, with an increase in major thoroughfares, drivers have increased their speed on an unprecedented levels. A recent announcement by the RCMP, stated that they are seeing the average speed to be between 120-160 km/hour. This increase in speed leaves drivers with little reaction time, especially when conditions are not ideal. With an increase in speed, poor lighting or weather conditions and combined with a large game animal, there is little wonder why moose-vehicle collisions have both increased in number and severity.
Furthermore, in today’s modern technological era, drivers have an ever increasing number of distractions. Cell phones are the main culprit in this. Drivers are often distracted by phone calls and/or text messages. One expert stated that in a recent study, an average person traveling 100 km/hour and looking down for just six (6) seconds, travel the distance of one football field. Traveling that distance in such a short time, basically blind, has led to car accidents and more especially moose-vehicle collisions.
Finally, with an announcement by Minister French (former Minister of the Department of Environment & Conservation) in 2011, that the number of moose in the province is already on the decline, we the undersigned petition ask that this government to be mindful of the greater issues at hand and that the governing bodies consider the statistical analysis and research over and above the impassioned sentiment of the few. So that, we may maintain a healthy moose population long into the future.
Totally Outdoors NL www.totallyoutdoorsnl.com