Cape Breton moose cull protesters ask for a share
'Give us two weeks, give them two weeks,' says protest leader
People protesting a moose cull on North Mountain in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park say sharing the quota between aboriginal and non-native hunters would be an easy solution to the conflict.
About 25 protesters took their complaints directly to Parks Canada's office in Ingonish this week and met with new park superintendent Eric LeBel.
The cull, to be conducted over two years, is being carried out in a restricted zone by aboriginal hunters under the direction of the Unama'ki Institute of Natural Resources, based in Eskasoni.
It was suspended after two days, on Nov. 11, when the hunters were confronted by protesters.
When he first launched the protest, hunting guide Dennis Day said he opposed the cull because he didn't think there were enough moose on North Mountain for the population to survive a cull.
Now he's asking for a share.
"Give us two weeks, give them two weeks," he said. "If they want to exercise their right to do the hunt in them two weeks, that's fine, and if we want to exercise the right to do the hunt in our two weeks, that's fine. If we decide not to, it's up to us."
Parks Canada says a "hyper-abundance" of moose on the mountain is preventing the boreal forest there from regenerating, because moose eat all the new tree saplings.
'Take a step back'
Another hunting guide, Arnold Dithurbide, wants the community involved in deciding what happens with the moose.
"Take a step back," he said. "We know you [aboriginal hunters] have the rights, but would you mind just postponing the actions of those rights until we have everybody on the same side and and everybody gets a feeling that they have the right answer?"
LeBel has promised to co-ordinate a public meeting as soon as possible, and Dennis Day says that's enough for him to call off his protests.
Parks Canada has said the cull will resume this fall, once a security plan has been established for the aboriginal hunters.
No new start date has been released yet.
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