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'A moose became interested in watching TV while having a snack.'

Steep decline in the population of Ontario moose. Here's why

Daksha Rangan
Digital Reporter

Wednesday, October 26, 2016, 4:21 PM - They're an iconic Canadian symbol and an invaluable part of our landscape, but they're also quickly disappearing throughout Ontario.

In a report published on Wednesday, Ontario's environmental commissioner cautioned residents about the rapid decline in the province's moose population over the past ten years -- with many more species facing the same threat.

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"One of Ontario’s most important species is the moose. Moose are key forest species in most of Ontario," Dianne Saxe, the province's environmental commissioner, tells the Toronto Star.

Saxe told the publication that the decrease in roadless areas, parasites, and hunting are among the challenges Ontario's moose population faces.

“Climate change is making it worse — moose are exquisitely adapted to cold weather and very poorly adapted for heat," Saxe adds.

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Small Steps Forward, Saxe's report, highlights a mass loss of biodiversity, which she calls a "crisis in our provinces and around the world," The Toronto Star reports.

In addition to moose, eight out of the 27 amphibian species living in Ontario are also at-risk.

Bats, too, face a large threat. Four out of eight species of bat are classified as endangered.

Saxe notes that "every known colony of little brown bats has been affected by white-nose syndrome" -- a disease that impacting hibernating bats, which spread from the U.S. and killed millions affected animals in its path.

“[E]very known colony of little brown bats has been affected by white-nose syndrome," Saxe says. "It is likely that the Ontario population will never recover and may be wiped out entirely.”

With regard to the moose population Saxe's report highlights the provincial low of 80,000 in the 1980s, which increased to 115,000 in early 2000, namely due to restrictions on hunting.

"But today, moose are declining again,” Saxe wrote in her report. "There are now an estimated 92,300 moose — amounting to a decline of about 20 per cent over the last decade."

Some cities are seeing a steeper drop in the moose population than others, with Thunder Bay seeing a 50 per cent decline and Cochrane seeing a 60 per cent decrease.

Saxe is urging the Ontario government to enforce stricter laws around hunting and habitat preservation for wildlife.

Related Video: Bats are disappearing across Canada

SOURCE: The Toronto Star 

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