Logging and mining devastates moose populations

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Hunting ban a stop-gap measure; roadways for industrial activity are causing moose population to plummet

Winnipeg- The Wilderness Committee is again calling the government to account on plummeting moose populations, and encouraging them to fix the problem by addressing the root cause of the decline: industrial activity in our wild lands.

The government is silent on the cause of the moose population decline, but it isn`t a secret. Increasing industrial development—mineral exploration and logging—are opening up our wild forests, and the loss of safe habitat is the result. Hunting bans like the one announced today are necessary, but protecting more of Manitoba from industrial development and road building is the essential step to ensure our wilderness survives.

"This hunting ban announcement is like treating the symptom without diagnosing the disease,” said Eric Reder, Campaign Director for the Wilderness Committee. “We can not continue to ignore what is happening to our wilderness. Anyone who doubts the cause of the moose population decline need only look at a satellite image of the Porcupine Forest, just south of Barrows, Manitoba. You can find it in Google Maps online, and you will be shocked at the level of destruction. There is a cost to unrestrained development of our forests, and in this case we are seeing the decline of a truly iconic species,” said Reder.

Development has already pushed the sensitive woodland caribou populations down, and moved caribou farther and farther into the forest. Now, a much more adaptable species—moose—is declining at an alarming rate.

The long-term answer to declining wildlife populations—from moose to caribou to birds—is a great increase in parks and protected areas which have restricted vehicle access. An outdated commitment was made in 1990 that said Manitoba would protect 12% of the province by 2000, yet we still have less than 10% of our province protected. At the end of 2010, the government failed again on another public promise, this one from 2007, when they didn't complete five major new protected areas.

“We need more parks for our wildlife, many more parks all over the province,” stated Reder. “We need our parks to be protected safe havens for wildlife and wilderness, not open for industrial activity. And we need to eliminate the prevailing mindset that is always pushing development, with the thought that we can just keep destroying our natural world. There are consequences to our level of industrial expansion.”

“The government must decide whether policies will continue to favour industrial development over species protection -- we don't just need a temporary hunting ban on moose, we need a permanent ban on development that is infringing on their habitat," said Reder.


For more information please contact:

Eric Reder, Manitoba Campaign Director for the Wilderness Committee, 204-997-8584

Tripod-shot HD b-roll footage of mineral exploration in moose habitat, as well as moose tracks, captured in March 2011, is available upon request. Images are also available for media use.

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