Biologists to research impact of forestry-related changes to landscape on moose mortality in five-year investigation of recent population declines in British Columbia's Interior; study includes effects of pine beetle infestation, salvage logging

VICTORIA, British Columbia , February 5, 2014 (press release) – A comprehensive five-year moose study that will investigate recent moose population declines in B.C.'s Interior is now underway.

The study will engage 11 wildlife biologists, one wildlife veterinarian and several other staff over its five-year duration. Over 200 moose will be radio collared, their movements tracked and all mortalities will be investigated to determine cause of death.

Inventory work conducted by wildlife biologists in 2011/12 and 2012/13 indicated that moose densities in some areas of British Columbia's Interior have declined, while they were stable in other areas. The study will help determine what factors contributed to the declines, and what can be done to reverse them. A map of the study areas is available at: http://www.newsroom.gov.bc.ca/downloads/Provincial_moose_monitoring_areas_January_22_14.pdf

There are currently five separate study areas ranging from near Fort St. James in the north to the Bonaparte region northwest of Kamloops, with the possible addition of three more as the work progresses. The areas were specifically chosen to ensure a range of landscapes are examined in terms of the age of forest cover and amount of pine-beetle infestation with associated salvage logging and road building. The study will consider:

  • What factors, like hunting pressure, predators, parasites and diseases, and climate, influence the risk of mortality to moose.
  • How forestry-related changes to the landscape may impact those mortality risks.
  • Seasonal movement and distribution of moose populations in target areas.
Although the final results of the study will not be available for several years, wildlife biologists will be able to use preliminary information to help direct management of moose throughout the province.

Quick Facts:

•The goal for moose management, as defined by the Draft Provincial Framework for Moose Management in British Columbia, is to ensure moose populations are sustainable, integral to natural ecosystems throughout their range, and able to meet the needs of First Nations, licensed hunters and the guiding industry.
•The current (2011) estimate for B.C.'s moose population is 145,000 to 235,000. This estimate will be updated in the summer of 2014.

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