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Moose signs in Newfoundland

Newfoundland launched a five-year moose management plan Monday, partly aimed at reducing moose-vehicle crashes.

The plan is designed to minimize conflicts between people living on the island and moose while maintaining the moose population and continuing to allow for hunting.

The plan includes continued research into passive techniques for reducing moose near roadways, such as fencing, and the creation of two "Moose Reduction Zones."

The plan includes the creation of two reduction zones, which are 18-kilometre-square areas of land on the shoulder of the Trans-Canada Highway. One zone is between Gander and Grand Falls-Windsor, and the other is between St. John's and Clarenville.

Extra moose-hunting licences will be available for the zones, and the rifle season will open earlier than usual in those areas this fall.

The government describes the zones as an "active" approach to the moose problem, but says it is still experimental.

The next five years will see continued research into passive techniques already in use, such as fencing along roadways, which the plan says requires more data collection before they can be considered effective enough to introduce to the island.

The government concedes some techniques implemented in the past haven't worked, such as the high-tech sensor system installed along the Trans-Canada Highway in 2011.

"The use of break-beam technology is not reliable in the Newfoundland and Labrador's climate and terrain and therefore should not be continued," the plan says.

The island of Newfoundland has the highest concentration of moose in the world. Between 500 and 600 moose-vehicle crashes are reported annually there, with five to 10 serious injuries per year and an average of one human death.