Winnipeg – The Wilderness Committee is again calling the Manitoba 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 wildlands.
The provincial 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. Protecting more of Manitoba from industrial development and road building is the essential step to ensure our wilderness survives.
“We cannot continue to ignore what is happening to our wilderness,” said Eric Reder, Campaign Director for the Wilderness Committee. “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.”
Wilderness development has already pushed the sensitive woodland caribou populations down, and moved caribou farther and farther into the forest. Now moose, a much more adaptable species is declining at an alarming rate.
The long-term answer to declining wildlife populations is an increase in parks and protected areas that have restricted vehicle access. An outdated commitment was made in 1990 that said Manitoba would protect 12 percent of the province by 2000, but to date there is less than 10 percent of the province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,” says 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.”
- Caribou habitat still in decline in Canada’s Boreal Forest (thegreenpages.ca)
- Manitoba’s Meditation Lake still protected Whiteshell Park (thegreenpages.ca)
- Manitoba introduces Boreal peatlands stewardship strategy (thegreenpages.ca)
- Nature Conservancy protects habitat near Riding Mountain National Park (thegreenpages.ca)
- Wildlife habitat cuts cause concern (cbc.ca)