N.B. is only province not making species population estimates public
Natural Resources Minister Denis Landry says he's unsure why species numbers are not available to the public
New Brunswick is the only province in Canada that does not readily publish the population estimates of some animal species, such as deer, bear and moose, on its website.
CBC News submitted a Right to Information request to obtain what numbers it could after provincial deer biologist Joe Kennedy told CBC News in an email in January that there are no public reports on the numbers.
The department's response to the Right to Information request revealed population estimates for five out of 11 requested species of terrestrial mammals.
Natural Resources Minister Denis Landry said he did not know why the population estimates were not immediately available to New Brunswickers.
"We're not hiding anything. I'm not sure as to why they are not public."
In contrast, the population estimates of several animal species is available online in other Canadian provinces.
The provincial government's website does host a page showcasing the status of wildlife species in the province.
The page has not been updated in more than a decade, however.
The column dedicated to population estimates is blank, and the species statuses were last assessed in 2005.
Species are listed as "secure," "sensitive," or "may be at risk."
The species Myotis lucifugus, commonly known as the little brown bat, is listed as "sensitive" despite being decimated by white nose syndrome in recent years.
Value in numbers
Graham Forbes, wildlife ecology professor with the University of New Brunswick, said a snapshot number is not always helpful but information over time can be beneficial.
"They can see if it is increasing or decreasing."
Landry said he will look into making the population numbers available to the public.
"I don't see any reason why not," said Landry.
"I'm going to check in with the staff in the department to see what we can do to make it transparent."
Making more government information available to the public was something Premier Brian Gallant campaigned on when he ran for the Liberal leadership.
"We should do this more and more in a timely fashion," said Gallant in 2012.
By the numbers
CBC News received population estimates on black bear, bobcat, marten, moose and whitetail deer.
The latest estimates of black bear show approximately 11,189 animals in the province as of 2013, about the same estimated from five years prior in 2008, when the population was estimated at 11,118 animals.
As of 2015, there are estimated to be between 2,000 to 2,500 bobcats, down from an estimate of 2,600 bobcats in 2014 and 3,000 in 2013.
In 2010, it was estimated there were between 3,000 and 4,600 female martens in New Brunswick.
The New Brunswick moose herd is estimated to be at 31,819 animals in 2015 up from 25,916 in 2010.
The number of whitetail deer in the province for 2014 is at 74,338 animals up from 59,448 in 2010.
There was no data provided on population estimates for beaver, otter, weasel, fox, fishers, coyote or coyote hybrids.