Halifax/Kjipuktuk. The day before the Nova Scotia legislature reconvenes, Haligonian Jacob Fillmore begins his hunger strike demanding urgent action to protect the critically endangered Mainland Moose. Fillmore explained the need for a temporary moratorium on clear cutting on crown land and his intentions to refuse food until this demand is met in a letter delivered to Premier Ian Rankin last Wednesday.
“The Liberal government has put off adopting the Lahey report for years,” reads the letter. “Now there is no time for half measures. Implementing a moratorium would immediately benefit the at-risk and endangered species of Nova Scotia. Every acre of forest clearcut increases the risk to the food security of the moose, and other species.”
The Lahey report was a major review of the province’s forest practices that recommended protecting ecosystems and biodiversity, led by University of King’s College president Bill Lahey. Despite the report’s completion in 2018, it’s recommendations have not yet been implemented. Ian Rankin promised to apply a more aggressive timeline to implementing the Lahey report when in the running for the NS Liberal Party leadership. Fillmore’s action is intended to add urgency to this election promise.
“The fact that I feel I have to starve myself to see meaningful action is insane, but I don’t know what else to do,” explained Fillmore. “I’m scared for my future and our provincial government continues to act as if everything is fine. The Lahey report recommended that the DLF immediately prioritize the designation and protection of core habitat for at risk species on crown land. Despite accepting this recommendation the government has yet to implement it. Now the forests are in worse shape than they were two years ago and we can not continue to talk and log.”
There could be fewer than 100 Mainland Moose left in Nova Scotia, according to recent surveys conducted for the provincial government, as reported by the CBC. Last year, forest protectors were arrested for blocking access to loggers attempting to clearcut land that is known Mainland Moose habitat. Fillmore, who spent 2 weeks at the forest blockade in Digby County, has been camping out in front of city hall and province house for 11 weeks. He will remain in front of Province house for the duration of his hunger strike.