Moose Control for Newfoundland and Labrador

[Return to Policy Summary Page]

Moose Accidents

Newfoundland has several hundred moose/vehicle accidents a year. The probability of being involved in an accident is therefore at least 800/513,000 = 16,000 chances in a million.

To put this in perspective, "In 2002, you were about 10 times more likely to die after being bitten by a poisonous snake or lizard than to win a Lotto 6/49 jackpot. Odds for the snakebite death are one in 1,241,661, according to the U.S. National Safety Council."

The chance of getting murdered this year in Newfoundland and Labrador is about 5/513,000 or 2.5 in a million.

Therefore: you are about 3,200 times more likely to be injured in a moose accident than getting murdered, and we spend millions on police to keep the murder rate low. If moose bashing was a sport you bought 6/49 type lottery tickets for, you would be purchasing 776 tickets a year.

So why do we worry about violent crime and spend millions to prevent it, when we are more likely to be violently squashed under a thousand pounds of bloody meat and twisted metal ?

From the article Vehicle-Moose Accidents in Newfoundland "During 1987 and 1988, in Newfoundland, there were 661 motor-vehicle accidents involving a moose; 133 people were injured and three died. This constitutes a major problem for the provincial healthcare system."

There are a number of solutions to drop the risk to acceptable levels:

- Cut the speed limit on the Trans Canada highway to 70 kmh so that impact would be rare and minor.

- Spend a hundred million and fence all highway systems. $1.5M has been spent so far on wildlife fences and avoidance systems. See this: "Moose-vehicle collisions in Newfoundland at issue as computerized animal detection systems fail"

- Eat them. Moose burgers taste good :-)

The only option that makes sense is a cull. Allow unlimited hunting until the accident rates drop to acceptable levels, perhaps six accidents a year. If the moose population was to crash and they went extinct there would be two options -- allow the native caribou herds to grow and forget about the imported moose - or import a few moose and let them re-infest the province.

As a general rule, importing alien species is unwise because they lack sufficient natural predators. So far, alien species include moose, shrews, squirrels, various rats and Norwegian earwigs.