NEW! Wildlands League has published the first ever progress report on whether critical habitat of the iconic boreal caribou is protected in Canada. Read more here.
Boreal caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou) is one of Canada’s most iconic species. Boreal caribou were re-assessed by COSEWIC (Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada) in November 2014 and determined to be Threatened. Much of its habitat was found to be degraded and the species is declining especially in the southern part of its range in Canada.
Wildlands League has been sounding the alarm on boreal caribou for a number of years because scientists were concerned at the rate by which boreal woodland caribou were disappearing – due largely to human destruction of their habitat. Caribou are bellwethers of the Boreal Forest’s health. They thrive in landscapes that are largely untouched by industrial development.
Province-wide, Ontario has already lost 40-50% of its historic boreal caribou distribution. And local caribou populations here are facing high-risk situations.
Protecting the habitat of boreal caribou means the Boreal Forest ecosystem as a whole would benefit including other species that rely on healthy, intact forests for their survival such as wolverine and interior songbirds. Boreal forests also cleanse our air and water, and store vasts amounts of carbon within their soils, moderating climate change.
Protecting Canada’s remaining boreal caribou critical habitat is essential to maintaining fully functioning ecosystems within boreal forests and wetlands for generations to come. Protecting caribou habitat would also help Canada meet its international commitment to protect 17% of lands and inland waters by 2020.
It is vital that Ontario and other jurisdictions take action to ensure there is mandatory and enforceable protection of boreal caribou critical habitat.