The draft recovery strategy released recently is a major step forward for the conservation of boreal caribou and has potential to benefit much of Canada’s boreal forest and the wildlife that depends on it.
Still, the plan needs to be strengthened and a genuine commitment made by all Canadians to ensure the future of the boreal caribou, according to the Canadian Wildlife Federation.
“The designation of 2.5 million square kilometers of Canada, nearly one quarter of our country, as critical habitat will mean large scale landscape management and meaningful consideration of cumulative effects will be required before development can take place,” says Canadian Wildlife Director of Conservation David Browne. “This is the most complex recovery strategy ever undertaken by Environment Canada and we commend the hard work of the many people who helped create it.”
Canadian Wildlife believes that for this strategy to achieve its objective of maintaining local populations across Canada the requirements for habitat restoration in highly disturbed areas will need to be strengthened, timelines for action plans more clearly defined and the required level of undisturbed habitat be increased for some areas. Achieving the recovery strategy’s critical habitat targets will also require novel approaches to land use, both in terms of minimizing disturbance and more importantly deciding where development should and should not occur. We expect to see a strong commitment by the federal government to protect critical habitat, develop action plans and put incentives in place for habitat restoration.
To keep this iconic Canadian species will require cooperation and commitment from federal, provincial, territorial, First Nation governments, industry and non-government organizations. For its part, Canadian Wildlife has invested $250,000 in the development of a landscape planning model to identify opportunities for conservation in the highly disturbed western boreal forest region of Canada. The federation has also established a 3 year partnership with University of Alberta to support the use of satellite collars in a research project aimed at determining industry best practices that will benefit boreal caribou. Canadian Wildlife will be encouraging its 300,000 supporters to submit comments on the strategy and indicate their support for boreal caribou conservation.
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