Ecojustice Blog – Nature Posted on January 8, 2018 (updated: February 27, 2018)

Speak up for boreal caribou

Ecojustice scientist Liat PodolskyLiat PodolskyScientist
Boreal caribou
Shutterstock © miker

Boreal caribou living in Alberta are staring down a road to extinction – and they need your help to change course.

Caribou are so iconic that if you flip a Canadian quarter, there is a 50 per cent chance it will land with an image of the antlered animal facing upwards.

However, while we recognize the caribou on our currency, we are failing to recognize that we need to do more to increase their odds of long-term survival.

Boreal caribou dwell in old growth forests and wetlands, and the condition of their habitats is critical for their survival. When we destroy or fragment these ecosystems, we leave caribou vulnerable to predators such as wolves.

That is why we are asking you to urge Minister of Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna to take action to protect boreal caribou in Alberta.

A 2017 federal report made it clear that the provinces — including Alberta — aren’t doing enough to protect boreal caribou on provincial land.

The province followed this report by releasing a draft caribou range plan in December. But as our friends at Alberta Wilderness Association wrote, this “plan to plan” ultimately fell short.

“The government continues to delay necessary actions to achieve caribou home ranges of at least 60 per cent undisturbed habitat, the absolute minimum required for caribou to sustain themselves,” the organization said in a release. 

We think the Canadian government’s response to this should be clear: Cabinet, on the recommendation of Minister McKenna, must use its powers under the Species at Risk Act to protect boreal caribou.

If it doesn’t, there is a real risk that this magnificent species will one day disappear altogether.

As a Toronto Star editorial recently warned, “If the government does nothing to protect the caribou, the outcome is all but certain: some alive today will live to see a country without caribou.”

We want to ensure that caribou have the best chance possible of populating our forests and wetlands far into the future. For this to happen, the federal government must fulfill its responsibility to protect at-risk species when provincial laws fall short.

Will you speak up for caribou by sending your own letter to the Minister today?

Give boreal caribou a voice. Ask Minister McKenna to recommend protection for this iconic species.

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