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Listen to the natives for better moose monitoring
Date:2/17/2010

moose populations (based on moose sightings, tracking and faeces) they detected a significant decline in numbers.

The Cree people alerted wildlife managers, but they were not taken seriously. Instead the authorities insisted that the moose population must be stable because the 'catch per unit effort' (average number of moose caught by hunters in a particular time period) had remained the same over the years.

But by the early 1990s the authorities were forced to concede that there was a problem in zone 17, as it became clear that a severe crash in population had occurred, with a drop of more than 50%. "Opening the road had opened up opportunities for the forestry sector as well, enabling them to clear cut the forest and leaving the moose with less cover to hide in," said Scott. The moose became easy targets and sport hunters became much more efficient. However, because the moose population was declining, their 'catch per unit effort' remained stable, lulling the authorities into a false sense of security.

In this instance the traditional methods of monitoring and managing moose, used by the Cree hunters, was a better measure of moose population. "Their methods rely on more variables and have a greater complexity," said Scott, who presented his findings to the ESF BOREAS conference, which took place at the Arctic Centre in Rovaniemi, Finland (http://www.arcticcentre.org/?Deptid=28867).

Today the Canadian wildlife authorities have learned their lesson, and work closely with the Cree, listening to what they have to say, and respecting their intimate knowledge of the environment.


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Contact: Chloe Kembery
ckembery@esf.org
33-038-876-2158
European Science Foundation
Source:Eurekalert

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