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Project hopes to find lovers for Nova Scotia moose

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AMHERST, N.S. -- The Nature Conservancy of Canada has launched a fundraising program in the Maritimes over Christmas to help moose find their way to some cross-border love.

The program, dubbed "The Moose Sex Project," is aiming to raise $35,000 to buy a narrow strip of the Chignecto Isthmus -- a strip of land between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

Andrew Holland, spokesman for the conservation group, says creating a corridor for wildlife may allow more of the New Brunswick moose population to cross over to Nova Scotia and find mates.

The Nova Scotia mainland moose has been endangered since 2003, and the conservancy says that ensuring corridors between provinces may help preserve the declining population.

He says the total purchase would create a corridor of about 100 hectares along the narrow strip of land.

The group currently has secured five properties in the Chignecto Isthmus Natural Area, which total more than 332 hectares, and is awaiting the funds to complete several purchases to complete the corridor.

Holland says Cape Breton moose haven't been finding their way to the mainland due to the difficulties of crossing the Strait of Canso and because the population is concentrated in the north of the island.

That means the agency is looking to New Brunswick's healthy population as a potential source of mates for the Nova Scotia moose.

"Moose populations in New Brunswick are quite healthy and continue to be healthy," said Holland.

"Our hope for this narrow section of land... is we keep it open for large animals so the moose in New Brunswick can go over and make friends with the moose in Nova Scotia."

The conservation group notes that in addition to moose, other mammals and bird species such as Canada lynx, bobcat and northern goshawk can use the corridor between the two Maritime provinces.

Holland says the area is also a potential nesting site for American black duck, green-winged teal and wood duck.

Rare plants are found on the Nova Scotia side of the Chignecto Isthmus including the Halberd-leaved tearthumb and lesser wintergreen.

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 26, 2012 A16

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