Provinces miss deadline for action plan to protect boreal woodland caribou | WWF-Canada

Provinces miss deadline for action plan to protect boreal woodland caribou

Posted on 06 October 2017   |  
Woodland caribou in the boreal forest, Slate Islands, Ontario
Woodland caribou in the boreal forest, Slate Islands, Ontario
© Gary and Joannie McGuffin
TORONTO – After spending 14 years on the Species at Risk Act (SARA), plans to protect boreal caribou pops are still stalled, with no progress on action plans necessary to protect their critical habitat and boost their recovery.
 
Because the boreal caribou’s range extends across the country (specifically in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Québec, Labrador, Yukon and Northwest Territories), implementing a recovery strategy and coordinating requisite action plans from each province and territory has been a lengthy process. The deadline for provincial and territorial action plans was set for October 5 –a five year period since the recovery strategy for the species was published -  but most jurisdictions have released little to no information on how they plan to protect critical boreal forest habitat.
 
“For over a decade we have failed to meet important deadlines to protect this iconic Canadian species, and yesterday was no exception,” said David Miller, president and CEO of WWF-Canada. “The implementation of the Species at Risk Act to date has failed boreal caribou.”
 
WWF-Canada’s Living Planet Index, released last month, highlighted woodland caribou as one of many examples of why SARA has not yet been an effective tool for protecting species at risk. From 2002 to 2014, species with legal protections under SARA declined an average of 28 per cent, with an average annual decline of 2.7 per cent.
 
Timeline of boreal caribou conservation under SARA:
  • 2000-2014: The Committee for the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada assessed the Boreal population of woodland caribou as Threatened in 2000. The status was re-examined and confirmed in 2002 and again in 2014.
  • 2003: The boreal population of woodland caribou were listed as Threatened under SARA
  • 2007: Deadline under SARA for release of recovery strategy
  • 2011: Recovery strategy proposed
  • 2012: Recovery strategy finalized
  • 2017: Federal action plan proposed
  • Oct. 5, 2017: Deadline for provincial and territorial action plans
 
Reasons for boreal caribou declines:
  • Logging, mining and gas development have cleared large areas of woodland caribou habitat, or fragmented it through the construction of roads, seismic lines hand hydro corridors.
  • Habitat fragmentation has restricted woodland caribou movements, making them easier prey for wolves.
 
 
 
About World Wildlife Fund Canada
WWF-Canada creates solutions to the environmental challenges that matter most for Canadians. We work in places that are unique and ecologically important, so that nature, wildlife and people thrive together. Because we are all wildlife. For more information, visit wwf.ca.
 
For further information
Megan Nesseth, communications specialist – wildlife stewardship, mnesseth@wwfcanada.org, +1 416-904-2482
Woodland caribou in the boreal forest, Slate Islands, Ontario
Woodland caribou in the boreal forest, Slate Islands, Ontario
© Gary and Joannie McGuffin Enlarge

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