It’s a fact: moose don’t carry passports.
And a Canada-U.S. nature conservation coalition wants that fact to be recognized from New York State to Nova Scotia.
Sure, there’s no record of customs agents ever patting down a moose, nor are they likely to start anytime soon. But the group says officials on both sides of the border need to work together to protect the animals that ramble back and forth, including moose.
“In Nova Scotia, the mainland moose is a threatened critter, but it isn’t threatened in New Brunswick and Maine,” said James Sullivan, the Halifax-based executive director of Two Countries, One Forest.
While Cape Breton, New Brunswick and Maine have healthy moose populations, there are fewer than 1,000 roaming mainland Nova Scotia, giving the animal endangered status. Mr. Sullivan’s group believes better protection of the corridors between wildlife areas throughout the Maritimes and the northeastern U.S. could help.
“In the era of climate change, there’s going to be a lot of pressure on our eco-regions to adapt to changes,” Mr. Sullivan commented.
“We need to have the big picture considered so the eco-region can be healthy enough and connected enough so . . . we don’t end up with big die-offs in some regions.”
The group says the Isthmus of Chignecto near the Nova Scotia-New Brunswick border should be a priority area for conservation efforts because it connects two important wildlife zones — Fundy National Park in New Brunswick and the Chignecto Game Sanctuary in Nova Scotia.
“We can improve land management on one side of the border and then not really improve it because it isn’t being managed on the other side of the border.”
Mr. Sullivan said he’s pleased with progress made in the past month to extend permanent protection to a swath of wilderness in the Ship Harbour Long Lake area of the Eastern Shore. But he said there’s more work to be done.
“I certainly think these are very important steps to be taken.
“But after that we need to look at how those pieces they’re protecting connect with each other.”
Construction of roads, power grids and suburban developments can all throw up barriers that isolate wildlife, Mr. Sullivan said. His group is hoping to encourage awareness about ways to keep an eye out for nature. Those measures include building wildlife bridges across highways for moose on the move.
“We need to have focused conversations that include a broad range of people,” he said, pointing to housing developers, municipal planners and Crown land decision-makers.
Mr. Sullivan said his group hopes dialogue will bring about solutions on how humans and wildlife can be good neighbours.
“We’re down to the difficult stuff,” he said. “We’ve been inhabited here for a long time.”