Canadian mountain caribou agreement short on action

Canadian mountain caribou agreement short on action

Conservation Northwest / Jan 10, 2018 / British Columbia, Caribou, Restoring Wildlife

After decades of decline among southern British Columbia’s mountain caribou populations, including the South Selkirks herd—the world’s southernmost caribou and the only ones that range into northeast Washington and northern Idaho—Canada and the province of British Columbia have come together to sign a historic agreement under Section 11 of the Canadian Species at Risk Act to protect and recover mountain caribou in the Central population group. It’s an agreement that will soon be expanded to cover the entire province.

A majestic mountain caribou bull in southern British Columbia. Photo: David Moskowitz / Mountain Caribou Initiative

While we’ve long worked to recover mountain caribou and protect their habitat and we welcome this agreement, the lack of concrete action outlined within it is concerning. The agreement fails to protect sufficient critical habitat, and funding for proactive recovery work is notably absent. Frighteningly, the agreement may even allow some smaller herds of caribou, including those in the South Selkirks, to wink out instead of staving off this tragedy by undertaking and supporting directed recovery work, such as maternal pens.

Fortunately, this agreement is still a draft and input from the public and stakeholder organizations is being considered. We recently expressed our concerns regarding the new Section 11 Conservation Agreement for the Conservation of the Southern Mountain Caribou in coordination with partners including WildSight and the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society.

You can read our full joint letter here. For more perspective as well as ways to take action, please see this blog from our partners at WildSight, a group working to protect biodiversity and encourage sustainable communities in Canada’s Columbia and Rocky Mountain regions.