deserves study, not blame
I read the Friday, September 26th article regarding “moose herds” with dismay. It appeared to be an article written by a person with, to say the least, an unfamiliarity with moose (I’ve never seen moose herds).
But more alarming was the seeming attempt to make a direct link between a decline in the Southern Lakes moose population and what the author speculated was First Nations overhunting in the area, without any science to back this up.
His musings are unsubstantiated comments that, in my view, lead to unfair generalizations and misinformation about First Nations’ hunting practices, and the impact they may or may not have on our Yukon wildlife.
Richard Mostyn’s editorial of September 29th seemed to tone down the blame a bit, and cast some onto ATVs as well. I am certainly no fan of ATVs, and I absolutely disagree with their use to hunt in the backcountry.
But given that the editorial also states that few moose permits are actually issued for the Southern Lakes region, and yet the moose are still in decline, perhaps ATVs, while offensive, may not be the primary culprit either.
When I think back to the Southern Lakes in the 1980s, when apparently moose abounded, I remember a lot more open areas, where humans weren’t as common.
Now, pretty much every kilometer of the area, from Jake’s Corner to Little Atlin, from Carcross to Marsh Lake, from Johnson’s Crossing along the Teslin River, from Whitehorse down both the Alaska and South Klondike Highways, and down the Annie Lake Road — all these areas are filled with country residential houses, cabins, resorts, retreats, dog kennels, farmland and other signs of a constant human presence. Large patches of land have been clearcut for agriculture up the M’Clintock Valley and along the Tagish Road. The Southern Lakes area is split with roads and highways, dog teams, farms and year-round dwellings. People have built permanent residences and fenced their land in areas that, I suspect, moose used to wander through freely.
I agree that research should be done about where the moose have gone.
However, it is unfortunate that prior to such research actually being done, the News has suggested we lay the blame at the feet of groups (particularly First Nations) who may only be a small part of the equation.
Your article and editorial ignore the significant human (primarily non-First Nation) land use in the area which may have a larger impact on moose than we care to admit.