As part of our Canada 150 initiative, Earth Rangers Members across Canada will learn about the potential threats facing one of our most iconic species- the moose!  The moose is the largest member of the deer family and is found across Canada, in every province and territory except for PEI. Those lucky enough to see moose are amazed by their size; a mature bull stands as tall as a horse, weighs 1,300 lbs. and has antlers that span up to 5 ft. The moose has long been a symbol of Canada, representing the magnificence of our country’s native wildlife.  However, declines of moose populations have been noted in several areas, including in Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia.

To better understand the cause of these declines, Earth Rangers and FPAC are partnering with Dr. Brent Patterson of Trent University to study the impacts of calf harvesting in moose populations in 4 wildlife management units (WMU) surrounding Algonquin Provincial Park. In 1980, in response to declining moose populations, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources & Forestry (OMNRF) introduced a comprehensive moose management policy.  One outcome of the new policy was the introduction of a selective harvest program for moose.  Under this program, a limited number of tags for adult moose were offered, but hunters could legally harvest 1 calf moose in any WMU with an open moose season.  This system presumed that hunting of moose calves wouldn’t have a large effect on the overall rate of moose population growth.  Although both the harvest and size of the moose population initially increased under this system, Ontario’s moose population has declined approximately 20% over the past decade.

In 2002, OMNRF reduced the number of adult tags in 4 WMUs surrounding Algonquin Provincial Park in central Ontario, and implemented a lottery system for a small number of calf tags in these units. A data analysis will compare moose population trends and estimates of calf recruitment in the 4 four WMUs surrounding Algonquin Park with other WMUs in central Ontario, where the harvest system remains unchanged and calf harvest is more liberal.  The results of this analysis will be used to help inform the moose management plan going forward.

In Partnership With: