In Newfoundland and Labrador’s national parks, you can’t see the forest for the moose.
There are so many moose, in fact, that Parks Canada has announced a cull in Gros Morne National Park and Terrna Nova National Park to keep the population down and protect natural vegetation.
“Essentially, what’s happening is the population of moose in the Gros Morne National Park and the Terra Nova National Park have been rather successful over the last 10 years,” said Peter Deering, manager of resource conservation for Gros Morne.
Too successful, in fact.
“They browse the forest floor and they eat young trees and what have you and shrubs,” he said. “There numbers have been such that they prevent new forests from growing, which would be the natural process.”
Deering said there are between 4,800 and 5,000 moose in Grose Morne and between 150 to 200 in Terra Nova.
Parks Canada will work with the provincial government to get licensed hunters to carry out the cull during the annual moose hunting season.
How many animals will be killed is not yet known, but Deering estimates the cull will go on for a while.
“It will take some time,” he said. “The signal for us is when we see a new forest start to establish itself.”
There are between 150,000 and 200,000 moose in the province, which has a human population of just over 500,000.
There is currently a class-action lawsuit against the provincial government for not better controlling the moose population, making highways prone to moose-vehicle collisions, of which there are hundreds every year.
The moose population is hard to control because the animals aren’t native to the province. The government brought them to the island in the early 1900s and they have no natural predators.