Maritime moose sex corridor gets $52K from U.S. charity

The Nature Conservancy of Canada has received a $52,753 donation from a New-York based conservation charity to promote interprovincial moose love between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

Open Space Institute donates money to acquire strip of land between Nova Scotia, New Brunswick

The Nature Conservancy of Canada wants to create a corridor in the Chignecto Isthmus to more easily allow New Brunswick moose to meet and mate with Nova Scotia moose. (CBC)

The Nature Conservancy of Canada has received a $52,753 donation from a New-York based conservation charity to promote interprovincial moose love between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

Andrew Holland, a spokesman for the Nature Conservancy of Canada, said the donation from the Open Space Institute shows there is international relevance to the efforts to create a corridor for wildlife to encourage more of the New Brunswick moose population to cross over to neighbouring Nova Scotia and find mates.

"Certainly in New Brunswick the moose populations have been healthy," said Holland. "But in Nova Scotia there have been longstanding issues because of parasitic disease that basically came in - brain worm - that moose were impacted with from, largely, white-tailed deer."

It's all part of a program dubbed the Moose Sex Project, aimed at acquiring and maintaining a narrow strip of the Chignecto Isthmus — a strip of land between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick — to help preserve the declining population of Nova Scotia mainland moose.

The Nova Scotia mainland moose have been endangered since 2003 and Holland estimates there are about 1,000 of them remaining, compared to 29,000 in New Brunswick.

Holland said the donation is significant because it allows the organization to leverage more money from the federal government.

Six years ago, the Canadian government announced it would invest $225 million in the Natural Areas Conservation Program and entered into an agreement with the Nature Conservancy of Canada. As part of that agreement, the conservancy must find matching funds for every federal dollar it spends.

Holland's goal is to raise enough money to buy five key parcels of land where owners have said they'd be willing to sell.

He said it's like putting together pieces of a puzzle.

"What happens is, when you build new highways and there's cutting and different development, moose and other animals get confused. Their landscape and their habitat gets fragmented and they kind of lose their way."

Hopefully the moose aren't shy. Another part of the plan is to install cameras along the corridor "to try to get a better feel on traffic, what species are there, and what they're doing," said Holland.

Holland said Cape Breton moose haven't been finding their way to the mainland due to the difficulties of crossing the Strait of Canso and the concentrated population in the north of the island.

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