AMHERST – The Nature Conservancy of Canada has begun a campaign to help the Mainland Moose get across the isthmus at Christmas.
The organization is attempting to raise $35,000 to help conserve two properties along the Isthmus of Chignecto totaling 100 hectares. Agreements to purchase these sites have been reached with private landowners, subject to funding.
“In mainland Nova Scotia the moose population is endangered. This corridor enables moose to move freely from one area to another,” NCC communications director Andrew Holland said. “This is one way for moose populations, that are healthy in New Brunswick, can move over and sustain the species in Nova Scotia. That’s why this is important.”
The New Brunswick acquisition was donated to the conservancy, while the one in Nova Scotia is a land purchase. Holland said there are expenses associated with land donations including appraisal and survey work, science assessments and real estate costs.
The conservancy has already secured five properties in the isthmus, totaling more than 332 hectares. These areas are located near Halls Hill and Baie Verte, N.B. and near Amherst.
Environment Canada’s Natural Area Conservation Program, the Nova Scotia Crown Share Land Legacy Trust and the Open Space Institute in New York have supported previous projects.
“We’re asking people to make a contribution because it would be both appreciated and timely in that they would get a charitable tax receipt for 2012. As we approach year end that may be of particular benefit to some who are looking ahead to tax season. There are only a few days left to make a charitable donation in this calendar year and we are both a charity and not-for-profit organization.”
Holland said the conservancy is committed to preserving the long-term viability of wildlife populations across eastern Canada and the United States because species cross borders and habitats are all interconnected.
The isthmus, he said, is a narrow, sensitive corridor that if not protected would disrupt wildlife movement for many species in what conservation planners refer to as the Northern Appalachians-Acadia Ecoregion.
“One of the main reasons we have zeroed in on this area is because it’s a key area for several species,” Holland said.
In addition to moose, the isthmus is a key habitat for other mammals and bird species including the Canada lynx, bobcat and northern goshawk. It’s also a potential nesting site for American black duck, green-winged teal and the wood duck.
The isthmus, he said, features an extensive system of swamps, lakes, marshes and bogs and is home to a number of rare plants, especially on the Nova Scotia side where there are Halberd-leaved tearthumb and lesser wintergreen.
Donors can contact the conservancy by going to the website www.natureconservancy.ca or calling 1-877-231-4400.