A pair of Yarmouth County men got some surprising photos and video of a moose galloping down Highway 340.
Jeffrey Barr and Kyle Roberts were on their way home from visiting family in Weymouth Sunday night, Nov. 11.
About 10 p.m. they were passing Wentworth Lake (between Corberrie and Moody’s Corner) when they saw “a big lump of something in the road.”
“I thought it was a bear at first and then when it was running down the road we thought it was a horse, but then we could tell it was definitely a moose,” says Barr.
Barr hauled out his iPhone and videoed the gangly beast clomping down the middle of the road.
“We were honking and yelling at it to get it off the road,” says Barr. “If someone came around that corner and hit it, it could have killed them. It was a big animal.”
Barr says it feels good to get an image of a mainland moose because they are so rare.
“A lot of people have been surprised by the video,” says Barr. “A lot of people didn’t even know we had any moose around here.”
Barr says he was thinking of his mother when he made the video.
He remembers seeing a moose with her on the side of the road in Cape Breton when he was a child.
The video on Youtube has been seen by almost 3,000 people as of Wednesday night, Nov. 14.
The mainland moose is considered endangered in Nova Scotia – a Department of Natural Resources’ website estimates the number of mainland moose in the province at 1,000.
Moose populations are generally greatest in isolated areas with poor access including the the Cobequid mountains running from Scotsburn to Advocate, the Pictou-Antigonish highlands, and the interior of the eastern shore area from Tangier Grand through Guysborough as well as in the Tobeatic and on the Chebucto peninsula between Halifax and Peggy’s Cove.
In contrast the moose population on Cape Breton is a separate sub-species introduced from Alberta in the 1940s and is a much healthier population estimated at 5,000 animals.
It is illegal for anyone to hunt mainland moose. Even the Mi’kmaq have signed a conservation treaty outlawing a hunt.
Still illegal poaching maybe a problem and increased access to the deep woods may be making it even easier to hunt and remove a large animal from the woods.
Moose are also threatened by a brainworm that lives in white-tailed deer. Black bears and maybe coyotes prey on moose calves.
Natural Resources would like people to report any moose sightings to help them learn about the location, habitat and health of the mainland moose.
Natural Resources would also like to hear of any illegal poaching.
The website also recommends anyone who comes upon a moose in the backcountry to disturb it as little as possible. Too much disturbance could drive the animal to less favourable habitat where food quality is low.