British Columbia

Veterinarian demands action after dead moose found tangled in abandoned telegraph line

The discovery of moose corpses tangled in old wire has prompted a B.C. veterinarian to start a campaign to clean up an abandoned telegraph line in northwest B.C.

'It's absolutely tragic,' said Veronica Gventsadze

In 2015, a moose had to be euthanized after it was found snared and emaciated in abandoned telegraph wire in Yukon. Abandoned telegraph lines also pose a hazard to the animals in Northwest Territories and northwest B.C. (Claudiane Samson/CBC)

The discovery of several dead moose tangled in old wire in northwestern B.C. has prompted a veterinarian to start a campaign to clean up an abandoned telegraph line in the region.

Veronica Gventsadze of Squamish became aware of the issue after her husband went exploring while they were staying in a cabin in the Nass Valley.

"In a one-kilometre-stretch of wire, he found three moose skeletons," Gventsadze said.

"It's absolutely tragic."

Portions of the Yukon Telegraph Line can still be found near Hazelton, B.C. and up into Yukon. (Veronica Gventsadze)

Gvenstsadze said the antlers were wrapped in wire belonging to the Yukon Telegraph Line, a federal government-run telegraph line constructed to connect British Columbia to Yukon after the boom of the Klondike Gold Rush in the late 19th century.

The line stretches roughly 3,000 kilometres and was in operation until 1936. Portions of the ine can still be found near Hazelton, B.C. and up into Yukon.

It's not uncommon for moose get tangled in the telegraph wire. In 2015, a Yukon conservation officer called for action about the lines after a bull moose had to be euthanized after becoming entangled in wire.

Cleanup efforts of Second World War-era telegraph lines have also been underway in the Northwest Territories after they were attriibuted to moose and caribou deaths for years.

A set of moose antlers tangled in telephone wires at Mile 170 on the Canol Trail. (Courtesy Norman Yakeleya)

The discovery of moose that were killed by the Yukon Telegraph Line is also documented in the book Wires in the Wilderness, a local history publication by author Bill Miller.

"It's a known hazard to people who research it, but it's not known on a large scale the way it deserves to be known," Gvenstsadze said.

In an effort to raise awareness, Gvenstsadze has launched an online petition directed to the federal government  demanding cleanup of the telegraph wire.

With files from Robert Doane

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