Province Protects Moose Populations

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Moose Watch, Ontario's enforcement campaign to prevent moose poaching and protect moose populations, is underway for the 2004 season, Natural Resources Minister David Ramsay announced.

"Poaching contributes to a decline in the moose population, which leads to a drop in adult moose tags and reduced hunting opportunities," said Ramsay. "Responsible hunters know this, and by working together we are providing government that works for Ontarians."

The slogan for Moose Watch is "We are watching - You should too." Moose Watch encourages hunters and the public to report poaching by calling a confidential toll-free number - 1-866-34MOOSE (346-6673) - as soon as possible so enforcement officers can investigate. The toll-free number will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, from September 15 through December 15, 2004. Almost 600 calls have been made to the Moose Watch phone line since the program started in 2000.

Hunters and members of the public can pick up free Moose Watch violation reporting cards from ministry conservation officers, district offices and some licence issuers and retailers. Hunters who witness a poaching incident are asked to use these cards to note details that would be helpful in tracking down moose poachers. All calls to the reporting line will be passed on to conservation officers to investigate.

Moose Watch is a co-operative effort involving the ministry, the OPP and Crime Stoppers. Individuals who wish to remain anonymous can also report suspected illegal activities through Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).