Moose sightings increase, but populations down in Newfoundland

Sightings of moose running through downtown St. John’s makes people think their populations are on the rise. But one expert is saying the opposite is true.

According to the CBC, who interviewed Department of Environment and Conservation director John Blake, it’s important for residents to understand that humans are moving in on moose territory – not the other way around.

“Really, any new housing development in any part of the province is encroaching on moose habitat," he said. “Last year's calves are very much uneducated and kind of looking for their own way in the world, so to speak. They're very naive and not used to humans and cars, but if they find some food source that they're comfortable with, then they're just going to stay there until something happens to drive them out of it.”

Despite the increased sightings in urban areas, Blake told the CBC that the number of moose has dropped from an estimated 140,000 in the 1990s to 100,000.

Blake also believes that conflict isn’t uncommon; but it is the responsibility of humans to avoid it.

“We should always be aware that we do share habitat with wildlife. And it's not uncommon, especially in a predominantly rural province like Newfoundland and Labrador, to have significant interactions with wildlife,” he added.

Co-existence is possible with education, patience and a willingness to grow.

Photo by Peter Kelly

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