While people can go to bars and nightclubs to meet potential mates, there aren’t many options for amorous moose in the Maritimes. But as their mating season begins, a plan to protect land on the New Brunswick–Nova Scotia border could change that.
Created by the Nature Conservancy of Canada, the “Moose Sex Project” conserves a corridor of land that allows moose from both provinces to cross the border more easily. It’s hoped that the passage will help boost the moose population in mainland Nova Scotia, where there are only an estimated 1,000 to 1,200 of the animals. There are around 29,000 moose in New Brunswick.
Without the protected land, moose could disappear from Nova Scotia, where the species is classified as endangered.
“Any time you lose a species, that can have wide-ranging effects on the ecosystem,” says Paula Noel, program manager with the Nature Conservancy in New Brunswick. She adds that as the largest herbivore remaining in Nova Scotia, moose play an important role in the province's ecosystem. “The hope is that if we keep those natural areas in a good condition for moose and keep the region connected, moose will go into and out of that area.”
So far, the project has secured about 730 hectares of protected land in the Chignecto Isthmus area. Recently, Derek Burney, the former Canadian ambassador to the United States, and his wife Joan donated 316 hectares of land to the project.
But the corridor isn’t just limited to helping moose make a love connection.
“We’re interested in maintaining a wilderness corridor for all wildlife, not just for moose — the idea being that this landscape is very constrained,” Noel says, noting the land is only 25 kilometres at its narrowest point and is becoming increasingly fragmented by roads. “Anything restricted to moving along the ground is going to benefit from the corridor, because they can move safely across that region.”