For immediate release
Kjipuktuk (Halifax). The lobby of Minister Derek Mombourquette’s office was taken over this morning by a group demanding that the Minister of Lands and Forestry meet to address the clear cut logging currently taking place in the habitat of the endangered Mainland Moose. They are supporting Forest Protectors who have been camped out on logging roads on crown land for over a month in Digby County, Nova Scotia in Mi’kma’ki, the unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq.
“Since 2003, when the Mainland Moose was declared endangered, government was supposed to identify and set aside “core habitat” areas for moose. Now, Forest Protectors are the last line of defence for this critical habitat,” said an Extinction Rebellion Nova Scotia spokesperson. “They have been asking for a meeting with the Minister since their blockade began, and now we are here demanding it.”
The sit-in delivered a copy of a letter from Nina Newington, one of the main Forest Protectors at the occupation site. This letter, which had been sent to the Minister on November 11 but has yet to receive a reply, reads,”It is obvious from numerous conversations with hunters and others who stop by our camp that we are in historic moose habitat. You should know that the vast majority of our visitors say they are 100% supportive of our action. When we show them the cuts your department approved for the area, they are horrified. These cut areas include exactly the multi-aged, multi-species forests that are needed by moose but are becoming ever less available under the current regime of destructive and outmoded industrial forestry.”
The larger demand of the group is for an immediate moratorium on all proposed and current logging on Crown lands from Fourth Lake south to the Napier River in Digby County. This must remain in force until ecologically based landscape use planning for the area has been conducted by independent ecologists and biologists, as recommended by William Lahey. The area is known habitat for mainland moose. It should be assessed for Protected Area potential, safeguarding connectivity between the Silver River Wilderness area and the Tobeatic.
The requirements of mainland moose are not adequately factored into current Department of Lands and Forestry’s guidelines. Their proposal to allow cutting in the area while following a ‘Special Management Plan’ is completely unacceptable. Given the dismal failure of DLF to protect endangered species, as established by Nova Scotia’s Supreme Court this year, responsibility for wildlife and Species at Risk should be transferred out of the Department of Lands and Forestry.