The Pemberton Wildlife Association is looking for information after a moose and her unborn fetus were killed.
“When you lose a breeding female and all the calves that she might have had in her lifespan, that’s a significant loss from a conservation point-of-view,” said president Allen McEwan.
It is believed a vehicle hit the moose on the Lillooet River Forest Service Road sometime between the evening of January 20 and early January 21 – a road that would not otherwise be accessible during the winter, but was plowed by Quebec-based Innergex Renewable Energy crews working on a hydroelectric project.
McEwan wrote to the Forest Ministry about its decision to allow Innergex to access their project during the winter, which he said disturbs the natural state of area.
“They’ve made special arrangements to plow it the last two winters in order to accommodate the company because they are having some technical difficulties at the plant,” he said. “We’re saying in the future we think that the company should be able to manage the plant during the summer months.”
An Innergex vehicle has also hit and killed a moose, but the project should be commissioned very soon, according to McEwan, and the road will no longer need to be plowed.
“This is the second moose we’ve lost during the construction of this project, and there was one lost in the early stages in 2014. So we’ve seen five now, going on six years of intense industry activity on the road and we know of at least two fatalities.” he said.
McEwan said the vehicle that hit the pregnant moose was damaged, leaving parts behind.
“It’s really important that those people come forward and explain to the conservation officers exactly what happened because we’re just speculating at this time – we can learn a lot from their report and try to work that into management plans for the future.”
McEwan says closing the road is unlikely because the public feels strongly about having access to crown land.
“This is a problem that we’re seeing not just in Pemberton, but across the province as our human population increases.”
They estimate only 37 of this breed of moose exists in this region.