Recovery Strategy for Caribou Falls Short

Yesterday, Nature Canada submitted comments on Environment Canada’s Proposed Recovery Strategy for the Boreal Woodland Caribou. The simple message is that more protection is needed.
This is what we said:

“We welcome the opportunity to comment on this proposed SARA Recovery Strategy for Woodland Caribou Boreal Population, (Rangifer tarandus caribou) in Canada. While this proposed Recovery Strategy is an important step in the right direction, it needs to be stronger to ensure a return to vibrant Boreal Woodland Caribou populations across the country.In particular, the following changes are needed to meet the objectives of the Species at Risk Act:

1. Strengthen the goal

The proposed strategy allows a 40% chance that herds will continue to decline – this is an unacceptably weak threshold. Make it a strategy for recovery, not continued decline.

2. Protect more habitat

Industrial activity has already driven caribou out of half of their former range. The proposed strategy would allow this destruction to continue in what remains of caribou habitat, only keeping from 65% to as little as 5% of their range intact. This is a recipe for failure. The scientific research spells out that much more than 65% of habitat needs to remain intact for self-sustaining caribou populations to thrive.

3. Don’t kill wolves instead of protecting caribou

Indefinite killing of wolves, moose, and deer is not an acceptable alternative to protecting caribou habitat. The department’s own biologists know that this is not a sustainable solution – protecting intact habitat is the solution.

Thank you for considering our input. Nature Canada looks forward to seeing the Minister adopt a final Boreal Woodland Caribou recovery strategy that includes these improvements.”


The consultation period on this failed proposed strategy ends today. Thanks to the nearly 2,900 people who also wrote a letter of comment using our online submission form. The strategy can be improved — and government decision-makers now know it’s important to Canadians that it is improved.