Moose experts converge in Nova Scotia for 51st North American Moose Conference

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What could be more Canadian than a moose conference, eh?

Last week in Cape Breton Highlands National Park, scientists from Canada and the U.S. gathered for the 51st North American Moose Conference to discuss the issues surrounding “what I call the charismatic megafauna […] some people call them swamp donkeys,” Gerry Redmond, one of the conference organizers, told the Chronicle Herald. “But they’ve got character and I guess that’s the reason I’ve been involved with the moose for most of my professional career.”

One of the significant topics for discussion involved the over-population of moose. Three years ago in Cape Breton, Parks Canada organized a tree-planting initiative to bring back the balsam fir and spruce trees that had been decimated by the moose population. That is, 11 per cent of the forest was destroyed.

The conference included 37 presentations, with representatives from different regions bringing their own issues and ideas to the table.

“Everything from moose health to habitat issues—really something for everyone,” Redmond told CBC.

Infrared moose tracking was another topic of discussion. While forest canopy can make it difficult to detect moose from the air, an expert from the U.S. will present infrared tracking technology as an effective alternative.

Enclosures have also been used in an attempt to keep moose out of certain areas of the national park, with newly planted trees being allowed to grow without the interference of the animal.

Redmond told the Chronicle Herald that he hopes to help the habitat, moose, and every other critter that depends on the area.

“When you pull people together, often solutions can be found, or at least we can talk about some of the issues and maybe get some advice or direction on how we can improve things.”