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Moose populations remain strong despite BC wildfires: minister

Last Updated Sep 17, 2017 at 8:52 am PDT

Trees burnt by raging wildfires in the central interior. (Courtesy BC Wildfire Service via Twitter)

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – BC’s moose population may walk away from this year’s wildfires relatively unsinged, and that’s good news for the hunting season.

Of the 240 radio collared moose in the Central Interior and Cariboo regions, BC Forests Minister Doug Donaldson says none of them have been killed by wildfires.

The province is still trying to assess the wildfires’ impact on wildlife populations, according Donaldson, but measures were already instituted last year to protect moose.

“We instituted measures in 2016 to include limited entry hunt for Bull Moose only for that area of the Cariboo,” Donaldson said. “That’s in addition to a reduction in limited entry hunting authorizations and closures of the September moose season for the Chilcotin.”

The minister adds the fires will also open up spaces in the forest and promote the growth of food that moose feed on.

Hunters may still be limited in where they can hunt, if a wildfire is actively burning in the area.

First Nations call on the province

A First Nations chief wants the BC government to stop the moose hunt after many months of devastating wildfires.

Chief Joe Alphonse, of the Tsilqot’in national government, says moose have lost their habitat and he claims at least two have died in the flames. He adds anyone, including Indigenous people, who points a gun at a moose are contributing to the decline of the species.

Alphonse says he wants First Nations involved any studies on wildlife losses going forward, and for the province to commit to conservation efforts.