For Immediate Release
Map Source: Boreal Songbird Initiative
Areas to be protected under the announcement include the Ramparts River and Wetlands complex, which is slated to become Canada’s next national wildlife area, and the East Arm of Great Slave Lake, scheduled to become a new national park.
The east arm of Great Slave Lake, known to the Dene people as Thaydene Nene or “land of our ancestors”, holds vast herds of caribou, as well as fur-bearing creatures such as lynx, wolf, red fox, wolverine, martin, moose and black bear. Lake trout, whitefish and huge northern pike thrive in the cold, nutrient-poor lakes and rivers.
The Ramparts River Watershed, also known as Ts’ude’hliline – Tuyetah, or “the place of love songs”, is a critical wetland that filters millions of gallons of water a day. It is an important waterfowl breeding site for ducks, geese and loons, and provides essential habitat for woodland caribou, grizzly bears and wolverine.
“This is great news for Canada’s birds and biodiversity,” said Gelfand. “At least two of Canada’s Important Bird Areas are found partly within the lands receiving protection today. This means critical breeding and feeding grounds for millions of migratory birds will be preserved.”
Significant portions of the North Arm of the Great Slave Lake Important Bird Area and the Southshore Great Slave Lake Important Bird Area are located within the areas to be protected.
This announcement is the latest in a series of significant conservation commitments made by the Government of Canada since January 2007. In August, the government announced it would expand Nahanni National Park by 28,800 square kilometers.
Progress also has been made in other important areas of conservation, including Sayhoue/Edacho (Grizzly Bear Mountain/Scented Grass Hills in Great Bear Lake), which Parks Canada has agreed to fund as a National Historic Site, and Edéhzhíe (Horn Plateau), where the federal government has extended interim protection to October 31, 2008.
Nature Canada has spent over 40 years working to complete the system of national parks in Canada. In the past 5 years, Nature Canada has promoted the use of a second federal tool, national wildlife areas, as a means to protect Canada’s wild species.
“National wildlife areas can be an effective way to protect Canada’s migratory birds and endangered species, and should be considered seriously,” said Gelfand. “We believe the Government of Canada needs to properly fund Canada’s system of 49 national wildlife areas, which now operate on a budget of less than $2 million dollars.”
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