Additional moose management measures were recently announced for the Tl'etinqox-t'in Territory in the Chilcotinto recover the moose population in the Anaham Range, and mitigate potential causes for their recent decline.
In 2011, there were roughly 185,000 moose in British Columbia.
The B.C. government and the Tl'etinqox-t'in Government Office (Anaham Band) have resolved to immediately implement a joint resource stewardship plan aimed at reducing land use and hunting impacts that have resulted in unusually low moose densities in this area.
"These actions ensure certainty for all those with an interest in wildlife management in the AnahamRange. More importantly they are concrete steps in establishing the long-term sustainability of the moose population in the region," says Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.
"I commend the ministry staff, First Nations, the BC Wildlife Federation, and forest companies including Tolko, West Fraser, and BC Timber Sales, all of who worked so hard to find common ground.”
Specific elements of the plan are being finalized, but some intiatives include a joint effort by The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and the Tl'etinqox to monitor hunter harvest, and manage predators and feral horses.
Road deactivation plans to manage access to sensitive moose habitat will begin immediately in co-operation with forest companies operating in the area. Forest companies have also agreed to schedule their forest harvesting activities to avoid conflict with guide outfitters operating in the area.
"This has been a long process, and I am heartened that we have come to an agreement,” says Chief Joe Alphonse, Tl'etinqox-t'in Government Office. “The Tl'etinqox Government Office will not have to resort to actions to block moose hunting activities. The plan addresses the need for specific stewardship strategies that focuses on our Aboriginal traditions and land values."
The Tl'etinqox-t'in Government Office confirms there will be no disruptions to the 2012 Limited Entry Hunt. Numbers of Limited Entry Hunt authorizations for moose will be re-evaluated for the 2013 season, in line with a reduced annual allowable harvest.
The Limited Entry Hunt for Region 5 (Cariboo) will open on Sept. 10, 2012.
The ministry has already commissioned an independent analysis of moose management in theCariboo, and results of that work will help inform future management decisions.
"It's known that First Nations communities in the Cariboo have the highest level of sustenance use of wildlife in the province,” says Alphonse. “Loss of habitat through the pine beetle epidemic, timber harvesting, road access, predation, the complex-type forest fires of 2010, and hunting have all caused reduction of moose in our area, impacting our right to harvest wildlife."
These immediate and longer term measures will add significantly to the collective ability of the B.C. government and First Nations to improve moose populations.
To learn more about moose population declines, including in the Cariboo and Chilcotin, visit this link.