Moose cull ends in Newfoundland national parks

This is the last day hunters can legally shoot moose in two national parks in Newfoundland.
A moose runs in front of a car in a road in Gros Morne National Park, in western Newfoundland, in this file photo. A cull of the animals in Newfoundland's two national parks ends today. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press)

This is the last day hunters can legally shoot moose in two national parks in Newfoundland.

Permits were issued for more than 400 moose in Gros Morne and Terra Nova.

Parks Canada says it hopes letting hunters into the parks will help prevent hungry moose from turning forests into fields.

"We're losing forests progressively, year by year," Tom Knight of Parks Canada said.

"As insects or fire disturb the forests, when the forests start to regrow underneath that, moose browsing is preventing it from regenerating."

High moose density

Parks Canada estimates there are as many as five moose per square kilometre in Gros Morne Park alone — among the highest moose densities in the world.

According to ecologists, the overabundance of moose in the parks is just a small part of the moose population problem.

There are at least 110,000 moose in Newfoundland — a situation that has led to hundreds of highway crashes a year.

Eugene Nippard is with a citizens group advocating for moose population control.

Last January, his group backed a class-action lawsuit against the provincial goverment by highway accident victims.

More licences

Since then the province has erected fences on portions of the highway along with a wildlife warning system and issued more hunting licenses.

Nippard would like to see more.

"We just had one of our executive members in hospital during Christmas," he said. "She got busted up pretty bad right there by her home at an intersection by a moose."

Parks Canada says it will be some time before it knows if all 402 moose were hunted in the two parks.

Nippard hopes the cull will continue this fall.