Wildlife Biologists Moving In To Solve Moose Mystery
By Tyson Kelsall, Culture Editor
Over the next five years, the BC government will study at least 200 moose in the province’s interior, including a large portion in the Prince George area. The BC government study shows that there has been an approximately 50% decline in moose population around Prince George since 2005, though the upcoming study will give a clearer picture of moose population change.
Since the study is lengthy, results will not be prepared for a while, but as more insights are offered there will be room for change and growth. The study is hypothesizing that the factors of declining moose include: hunting pressure, predators, parasites, climate, and forestry-related changes. However, some have brought up the fact that a study in 2007 showed over 150 moose carcasses surrounding the railway between Endako and Smithers. This seems a large number of dead moose in the span of roughly only 200-250 kilometers. Critics say that CN Rail has not done enough to combat animal deaths by their trains.
Of course, investigating what is causing so much grief in regards to the lives of moose could lead to findings concerning other animals. It is more than likely, especially when it comes to things as big as the climate or fast moving trains, that other wildlife has been likewise affected.
Aside from the Prince George area, there will be two other studies near Fort St. James and Kamloops (Bonaparte), although the study could grow upon itself as information is gathered. Of the staff included so far in the project, there will be eleven wildlife biologists, and the budget will be over two million dollars. In the end, the goal is about finding out what is causing moose decline, if it is really happening, and what can be done to change it.