Protesters arrested for blocking logging roads in Digby County moose protest
At one time, there were an estimated 7,000 moose in mainland Nova Scotia, but now that number is believed to be below 1,000.
HALIFAX -- Nova Scotia RCMP have arrested nine people who had been blocking logging roads in southwestern Nova Scotia in a protest aimed at protecting mainland moose habitat.
RCMP say they attended a site on Langford Rd. in New France, N.S., Tuesday morning, to enforce a court-ordered injunction against demonstrators impeding a logging project.
Activists with the Extinction Rebellion group had been blocking logging roads at the site since Oct. 21, saying they were attempting to protect the habitat of endangered mainland moose.
On Dec. 10, Nova Scotia Supreme Court Justice Glen McDougall issued a temporary injunction ordering the group blocking the roads in Digby County to allow cutting contractors for the WestFor consortium to enter the area with their equipment.
Digby RCMP say they had been meeting daily with the demonstrators to encourage compliance with the terms of the injunction, but it was determined that the terms of the injunction were not going to be met voluntarily.
On Tuesday, police arrested four men and five women in their 30s to 70s for civil contempt of an injunction order. Police say they took the group into custody peacefully and without incident. They have since been released from custody and will appear in court at a later date.
Last week, one of the protesters told The Canadian Press that she didn’t intend to leave and was willing to be arrested for civil disobedience
"A number of us are willing to do civil disobedience, to sit down and not leave and be arrested in protest against this," Nina Newington said in a telephone interview on Dec. 11 from one of the sites. "We would mount a defence based on the government's failure to stand up for its own rules protecting endangered species and to introduce forestry reform.”
The group has said in earlier news releases that it is calling for an immediate moratorium on all proposed and current logging on a large section of Crown lands in Digby County. It called for a halt to logging until independent scientists carry out "ecologically based landscape use planning" for the area.
"We appreciate the concern and passion of the protesters in Digby; however, we continue to believe that a responsible forest industry can be balanced with the need to protect our natural environment, including endangered species such as the mainland moose," Marcus Zwicker, WestFor's general manager, said in a news release.
Zwicker said his company's plans don't run counter to protection of the endangered species. His release says harvests in the area follow the province's special management practices for mainland moose.
"In fact, many scientific studies have shown that responsible forest management can help enhance moose habitat by providing requirements such as browse (food), shelter patches, wetland buffers and corridors," wrote Zwicker in the release.
With files from the Canadian Press.