Environment featured

News brief: Mainland moose habitat in Digby County occupied to protect it from clearcutting

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KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – Since Wednesday members of Extinction Rebellion and others have occupied a piece of forest land in Digby County that they fear is destined to be clearcut in the near future.

They are worried because of sightings of mainland moose in the same area, a threatened species in steep decline, with some estimates that only around 100 remain in the province. 

“Right now there are probably at least 10 people there, a half a dozen who would have spent the night and other people visiting and bringing in the necessary supplies and showing support right now. So far there have been no industrial forest workers attempting to access the land,” says Debbie Stultz-Giffin, a spokesperson for the occupiers.

The group would like to see a stop to clearcutting altogether, but  concern about the mainland moose who’ve been seen in that area is what triggered the specific action, Stultz-Giffin tells the Nova Scotia Advocate.

In a landmark decision in May a Nova Scotia Supreme Court judge ruled that the province has failed to live up to its legal obligations to protect species at risk, and has ordered the minister of lands and forestry to get its act together. The mainland moose was one of the six species singled out in the case, which was launched by private citizens. 

The mainland moose was declared an endangered species in Nova Scotia in 2003. (Department of Natural Resources)

“The mainland moose population is in a critical state. The question is, when will we act and turn the boat around and, and help mainland moose to not only survive, but eventually flourish once again,” Stultz-Giffin says.

“I’m not a biologist, but my understanding is that a mature forest cover is absolutely critical for the survival of the mainland moose. What they really need is a continuous, biodiverse forest with 25% hardwood in order to flourish. And certainly these industrial forestry plantations that they’re creating with 100% softwood are going to do nothing but further devastate the species,” she says. 

“It’s important for them to have a wide variety of foods to survive the winter. If they don’t have that it actually weakens their immune system and makes them more susceptible to the ticks that are actively involved in decimating the species, says Stultz-Giffin.

Earlier reports suggested Irving workers from New Brunswick were involved, however, in an email to Nova Scotia Forest Notes Irving denies any involvement.

For details, check out the Facebook event.

TO HELP: we want campers, visitors. please contact Debbie, d.giffin@bellaliant.ca

WRITE AND PHONE the government:

the new Minister of Lands and Forests, Derek Mombourquette Mindnr@novascotia.ca (902) 424-5935

Cc Stephen McNeil Premier@novascotia.ca, (902) 424-6600

Gordon Wilson Minister.Environment@novascotia.ca, (902) 424-3600

plus your MLA (find yours here) and contact info here

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  1. It’s so disappointing to see our NS government once again being negligent and incompetent when it comes to proper, science-based, forestry practices. It is utterly absurd that NS citizens have had to stand up to their own government and take them to court just to get government to obey their own environmental laws. This gross negligence and disregard for wildlife protection and proper forest management needs to be addressed, and the NS government should be held accountable for breaking their own laws.

  2. Land🌻 Air🌲 Water🐟 Sun☀️
    I am a Canadian🇨🇦
    Nature here is #1.
    Together we stand with the Moose on our land.
    How can we help the Mainland Moose expand?

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