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Climate Environment

Indigenous climate action and moose

I was delighted to listen to the most recent episode of the Indigenous Climate Action pod, called “In the Know – Respect the Moose”. This episode focusses on the animals’ long-term relationship with indigenous peoples across Canada, and how that relationship is threatened by #SportHunting, #LoggingRoads, #ClimateChange and other non-indigenous actions.

Moose populations dropping in Ontario
Moose populations collapsing in Ontario

In 2016, one of my first reports to the Legislature as the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario focussed on the frightening plunge in moose populations, caused by these very things. I reported:

“There are many pressures on moose, including habitat degradation, disease and parasites (e.g., winter ticks, liver fluke, brainworm), hunting, predation and weather. Climate change is an increasingly serious threat.…Ontario has approximately 98,000 licensed hunters – more than one licensed hunter for every moose in Ontario – plus Aboriginal peoples with a constitutional or treaty right to take moose without a licence.”

Every single one of those licensed hunters is allowed to kill a calf every single year, and many are allowed to kill cows. Logging roads increasingly cut up what used to be roadless wilderness, while climate wildfires destroy habitat and make the remaining animals easy prey for hunters. No wonder populations had already dropped 20% in just 10 years.

In the five years since then, neither the Conservative nor the Liberal governments have done anything to stop the devastation.

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