Male moose shed their antlers at the end of every mating season (also known as rutting season), which takes place throughout September and October. I found this one near the summit of Pollett’s Cove Mountain in the Cape Breton Highlands, at the north-western tip of Nova Scotia. It’s quite perfect, isn’t it? Moose antlers grow to full size in the spring and summer as testosterone levels rise in anticipation of mating season. The calcium necessary for this growth is derived from both their diet and their bones, most notably the rib cage. (Their diet consists mainly of pondweed, water lily and twigs, leaves, buds and bark from various boreal forest trees.) Testosterone levels drop when the rut ends, which causes the bone at the base of the antlers to dissolve. They usually fall off between November and January, the shedded weight allowing the moose to conserve energy during wintertime. / The original Cape Breton moose population (eastern moose / Alces alces americana) was completely wiped out in the early 20th century due to overhunting and habitat destruction. The current population stems from the introduction of 18 western moose (Alces andersonii) from Alberta’s Elk Island National Park in 1947 / ‘48. There is now a healthy population of approximately 5000 roaming the more remote areas of the island, and they have no noteworthy predators. Although some are affected by a brain worm transmitted by white-tailed deer and infants are occasionally killed by bears, this is not enough to threaten the population. On a more sober note, the moose have prevented much of the boreal forest in the Cape Breton Highlands from regenerating. This forest is an important habitat for the rare American marten, Canadian lynx and the threatened Bicknell's thrush. In 2007, @Parks.Canada installed several moose exclosures in an effort to encourage regeneration. A 2012 @STFXUniversity study showed a sevenfold increase in biomass inside these exclosures, indicating a possible recovery of the forest if the moose population is reduced.