Undaunted by a failed attempt
in 1878 to introduce moose as a source of game
for the local residents, the government transported
four moose from New Brunswick in 1904. As a
result of the second attempt, a thriving moose
population of some 150 000 inhabits Newfoundland.
According to park researchers, the 7 000 to
8 000 moose in Gros Morne could be one of the
highest moose densities in the world.
They believe the moose is
influencing the vegetation balance of the park.
In the absence of wolves, man is its only real
predator, and moose numbers are increasing.
The moose eat balsam fir and hardwood shoots,
allowing few trees to grow to cone-producing
maturity. Spruce trees taking advantage of the
available space could change the forest diversity.
The Maritime Archaic Tradition
on the coast of Labrador dates back 7500 years,
and since we know that the people of Labrador
travelled across the Strait of Belle Isle, it
is presumed they visited the western shores
of Newfoundland. The oldest artifacts known
to us have been uncovered at Port au Choix,
just north of Gros Morne. Dating back 3500 years,
the site is immensely rich in stone, bone, antler
and ivory tools, as well as ornaments and weapons.
The Dorset and Groswater Eskimos
fished and hunted from these headlands around
2500 years ago but disappeared for unknown reasons.
Excavations in the vicinity have revealed grave
sites containing skeletons of a robust people
with broad heads and pronounced cheekbones,
ranging in age from infancy to about 60 years.
Burials were ceremonial, and the graves give
us a clear indication of the abundant wildlife
in the region at that time Ò seals, walrus,
caribou, beaver, fox, marten, geese, ducks,
gulls, terns, swans. One grave even contained
200 bills of the now extinct Great Auk.