March 14, 2022: Draft conservation agreement for Ontario caribou weakest in Canada, says enviro groups
Boreal caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou) is one of Canada’s most iconic species. It’s been >2 years since Wildlands League called on the federal government to step in and protect boreal caribou critical habitat in two ranges in northwestern Ontario. Read the legal petition submitted by Ecojustice here. The situation has deteriorated in Ontario with the Ford government undermining the legal regime for species at risk and their habitat. Wildlands has also found new evidence of widespread deforestation due to clearcutting practices preventing the recovery of boreal caribou habitat.
Logging operations are permanently exempt from having to protect and recover species at risk.
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 25% of lands and inland waters by 2025 and 30% by 2030.
It is vital that Ontario and other jurisdictions take action to ensure there is mandatory and enforceable protection of boreal caribou critical habitat.
We work on a number of collaborative projects that aim to protect caribou habitat. See The Cochrane Plan for more information on one of them.