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Prancing with the Peary Caribou
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Prancing with the Peary Caribou

Famously known to be Santa’s flying assistants, the reindeer, also known as caribou, are much closer to home than you think! Interestingly, the term reindeer (used in Eurasia) and caribou are used interchangeably. The Peary Caribou, a subspecies of caribou, and the smallest subspecies, are located in the Canadian Arctic, such as the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. To spot a Peary Caribou, look for a white body, with a slate back, and a grey stripe down the front of the legs. If it is a winter season, the slate back may turn a dingy brown, and some may look entirely white! The antlers are velvet and are slate-coloured instead of brown like deer and other caribou and, both the females and the males grow antlers! The Peary Caribou are integral components to the Inuit and Inuvialuit communities as they are not only a source of meat, but for many communities are important to the local economies. If you are lucky, you may even see traditional handcrafts that are sold in markets, and collected throughout not just Canada, but internationally. The habitat of the Peary Caribou is primarily treeless Arctic tundra. These regions are characterized as a polar desert with short, cool summers, and long, cold winters. The caribou has a broad diet and are versatile feeders, with diet varying seasonally. Since the Peary Caribou’s have dietary flexibility, the majority of their habitat is still available and has not been lost or fragmented by industrial and other human developments. You may ask yourself why the Peary Caribou is able to live in the Arctic environment and you are not (not as easily as these majestic creatures anyways). Well the reason is that they have adaptations that allow them to live there. They have compact body size for conserving heat; hooves that allow them to walk on and dig through wind-driven snow; and fur that helps them camouflage. The Peary Caribou are polygynous, living in small groups. They live approximately 15 years in the wild, with the cows producing their first offspring by 3 years old! The males average at 1.7 m in length and weigh 245 lbs! The female are much smaller, weighing 135 lbs. The species is facing threats from the changing climate, including increased intensity and frequency of severe weather events, which makes it difficult to search and hunt for food, and decreased extent and thickness of sea ice (causing shifts in migration). The other low-impact threats include hunting, energy production and mining, human intrusions from work activities, year-round military exercises, increases in traffic from snowmobiles, helicopters, and airplanes. The Peary Caribou is a Threatened species. That means that the species is likely to become endangered. So, this species has an excellent chance to recover and begin flourishing again if we help them now! I know you’re asking what you can do to help save this species. Well, by sharing this information with your friends and family, more people will know about the issues that the Peary Caribou is facing. With more people knowing about this species, that means there are that many more people that will want to help! But, if you are looking for something you can do right now, start by reducing your greenhouse gas emissions, and your personal footprint. That means Reduce! Reuse! Recycle!

Deer of Canada
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Deer of Canada

How to Identify Them

Deer (Cervidae) is a family of antlered, hoofed ruminants of the order Artiodactyla (even-toed ungulates) containing 47 species worldwide. An easy way to identify the different deer of Canada is by describing what they look like, where they live and what they eat. I use these to describe the five deer species in Canada: White-tailed deer, Mule deer, Caribou, Moose, and Wapiti.

Wapiti/North American Elk (Cervus elaphus canadensis)

What do Wapiti look like? • Light brown with darker necks and legs. • A distinguishing creamy-coloured rump patch with short tail. • Stags /males have a dark brown mane on the throat. • An adult Wapiti stands 1.2-1.5 m at the shoulders. • Antlers are many-tined and sweep back. Where can you find Wapiti? • Found along the Rockies in Alberta, British Columbia and Yukon, and scattered populations in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario. • Tend to more open terrain rather than forested areas. What does Wapiti eat? • Elk are browsers feeding on grasses, sedges, and forbs in summer and woody growth (cedar, wintergreen, eastern hemlock, sumac, jack pine, red maple, staghorn, and basswood) in the winter months. • Favorites of the Elk include dandelions, aster, hawkweed, violets, clover, and the occasional mushroom. This is the same diet as the deer and so where there are Elk there is generally no deer.

Caribou* (Rangifer tarandus)

What do the Caribou look like? The Caribou is the only deer species in which both the male and female have antlers. The male's antlers are large and branch out, whereas the female's are smaller and straighter.
Barren Ground Caribou (Rangifer tarandus groenlandicus)
• White muzzle and dark brown face. • In summer, the coat is light brown; whereas in winter, it changes to a sandy-beige colour. • They have distinguishing white patches of fur along the neck, underbelly, beneath the tail and above the hooves. • Proportionate to body size, Barren Ground Caribou have the biggest antlers of the Caribou. • On average, adult males stand ~ 1.1 m tall and weigh 100-140 kg. • The velvet grows in dark brown.
Peary Caribou (Rangifer tarandus pearyi)
• In winter, the coat is completely white; while in summer, the top of the coat from head to tail turns a light shade of grey, while the underbelly and legs remain white. • On average, adult males stand ~ 1 m tall and weigh 60 kg. • When the antlers first grow in, they are covered in grey velvet.
Woodland Caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou)
• The coat is dark grey in winter and dark brown in summer. • They have patches of white fur on the underbelly, behind, neck and above the hooves. • On average, adult males stand ~ 1.2 m tall and weigh 150 kg. • The antlers are thicker and wider than the other Caribou subspecies. Where do you find Caribou? • Barren Ground Caribou: Occur in herds of thousands of animals in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. They migrate to the shrub-dominated tundra for summer and back to the muskeg and bog habitats of the taiga for winter. • Peary Caribou: Small herds occur in the polar deserts of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. • Woodland Caribou: Small groups live in the mature forests of the boreal and taiga ecozones across northern Canada. What do Caribou eat? • Barren Ground Caribou: In winter they eat primarily eat ground and tree lichens and in summer they graze on tundra plants. • Peary Caribou: Graze on willow, herbs and grasses, twigs and bark, and eat more moss than lichen. • Wood Land Caribou: In summer, they favour grass, sedges, moss, willow, birch and aspen leaves, and small herbaceous plants. In winter, they dig for tree and ground lichens. * Reindeer are Old Word Caribou.

Mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus)

What do Mule deer look like? • Ears are large in proportion to the head—like those of a mule for which they are named. • Rump has a large patch of white partly covered by a rope-like tail with a black tip. • Antler fork/branch out repeatedly but you would only see this in the mature bucks. Where do you find Mule deer? Mountains and foothills of western North America, sometimes occur as far east as Manitoba.

White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus)

What does a White-tailed look like? • The coat is tan or reddish-brown in the summer and grayish-brown in the winter • There are distinguished, with white ring around the eye, white band around the nose, white throat and white belly. • Ears are small in proportion to the head. • Tail is large with white underside. When sensing danger the tail is raised/ flagging. • On average, the adult stands 68-114 cm. An adult male weighs 68-141 kg whereas females weigh 41-96 kg. • Only the bucks have antlers. They have a main, forward-curving shaft/beam with tines projecting upward. Where do you find the White-tailed deer? • Most common and most widely distributed of North America’s large mammals. • Occurs across southern Canada and as far north as Yukon and the Northwest Territories. What does the White-tailed deer eat? • Grazes mostly on green plants and nuts in the summer and in the winter, wood vegetation.

Moose** (Alces alces)

What do the Moose look like? • Largest member of the deer family and one of the largest land mammals in North America. Adults stand 1.5-2.3 m from hoof to shoulder. • Bulls are larger than cows: males range from 2.5-3.2 m in total length, females from 2.4-3.1 m, and males weigh from 360-600 kg and females from 270-400 kg. • Humped appearance is from the muscled shoulder augmented by the low rump, short tail, and very long legs. • Bell is the dewlap of skin that hangs from the throat. • Fur is thick, brown to black in colour with individual hairs 15-25 cm long and hollow. • Head is long with a long, flexible nose and upper lip, and large ears that can rotate to give stereophonic hearing. • Antlers are wide and elaborate and can measure up to 2 m in total width, from tip to tip. These are the largest antlers carried by any mammal, worldwide. Where can you find Moose? • Found in much of world’s boreal forest—every Canadian province and territory except Nunavut—where there is a snow cover in the winter and access to lakes, muskegs and streams in summer. • They are limited to cool regions because of their large bodies, inability to sweat, and the heat produced by fermentation in their gut. What does Moose eat? • Moose is an Algonquin term that means "twig eater." This is a good generalization of what moose eat in the wild. • Graze on the leaves, bark, pine cones, twigs and buds of trees and shrubs. They also like to eat aquatic plants like water lilies. ** In North America, they are called Moose; in Europe, they are called Eurasian elk.

Campaign update: Trans Mountain Pipeline project
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Campaign update: Trans Mountain Pipeline project

[dropcap style="default"]Y[/dropcap]et another pipeline and tanker project to export bitumen from Alberta’s oil sands to Asia or the United States is being reviewed by the National Energy Board (NEB). The Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Project would include approximately 990 km of new pipeline between Edmonton and Vancouver and expand a marine terminal in the Fraser River delta. Traffic from this terminal through the Salish Sea would increase from the current five to an estimated 34 oil tankers per month. Nature Canada and BC Nature, represented by University of Victoria’s Environmental Law Centre, are jointly intervening in the review to ensure that nature is well-represented at the NEB hearings, expected to commence in January 2015. The first job of our team of scientists and lawyers was to carefully review the project proposal –a 15,000-page application from the proponent Kinder Morgan—and submit so-called Information Requests to identify deficiencies in the project proposal. We asked Chris Tollefson (CT) from the Environmental Law Centre about the preparations for the hearings. Nature Canada (NC): Let’s start off by talking about Information Requests (IRs). What can you tell us about the process of submitting these requests, and what do you hope to achieve? Chris Tollefson (CT): Project proposals are long, technical documents, but they can at times be somewhat vague. Sometimes, a proposal will state something, but not provide enough supporting detail to give people a full understanding of what it actually means in a concrete way. Other times, a proposal might altogether fail to address an issue that we see as important to the overall viability of that project. Information Requests are a way for interveners and the public to fill in those gaps. Once the proposal is released, intervening groups can send the proponent questions on specific aspects of the proposal seeking clarification and additional information. NC: So what did your team see as some of the main issues that you sought out information on? CT: Some examples of big issues are project impact and oil spill impact on IBAs and marine birds, and impact on caribou habitat from the pipeline corridor. Examples of things we asked for additional information on are further details on how marine bird indicator species were chosen, baseline data to assess impacts on marine birds, how impact from chronic oiling on marine birds is assessed, and additional details on the pipeline’s impact on the Wells Gray and Groundhog caribou herds. By asking for this information, we hope to achieve greater certainty that this project is environmentally sound and, where the proponent has neglected to study areas that it should have, send them back to the drawing board to figure out a stronger, safer project. NC: What are the next steps? CT: The proponent will provide the requested information to intervenors by June 4. We and our experts will review those answers to determine whether they are adequate. If the proponent does not provide adequate information, we can ask follow up questions in the second round of IRs in the Fall. We will also get a chance to provide our own written evidence in November. According to the NEB’s schedule, the oral hearings will take place in early 2015, with the panel’s report expected in July 2015. NC: Finally, with respect to the oral hearings, the NEB has indicated that intervenors will not be able to ask questions of witnesses of the proponent or governments, unlike at the Northern Gateway hearings. What is the impact of this decision? CT: Cross-examination is perhaps the most important part of any hearing. It’s the only opportunity to get at the heart of the matter. For example, during the Northern Gateway hearings Enbridge experts argued that diluted bitumen floats, but during cross-examination it became clear that this was not always the case. It was also through cross-examination that we established that Enbridge’s main metric for assessing impacts on caribou mortality was completely flawed and without scientific basis. We believe that the NEB is making a serious error in eliminating cross-examination and we (and other groups) are considering ways to get this error remedied before it does irreparable harm to the process.

Looking Back on Two Years of Hard Work
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Looking Back on Two Years of Hard Work

caribou bull Wayne Sawchuck
Since Nature Canada began what has now been a two-year long commitment to act as a joint intervenor with BC Nature on the Northern Gateway Pipeline review process, long hours and a lot of elbow grease has gone into participating in the hearings. Thanks to donor support and the pro bono help of Chris Tollefson and his legal team at the University of Victoria Environmental Law Centre, we have been very busy and effective in the final stages of the Northern Gateway hearings. We would like to share with you some of the valuable work that has been made possible through the combined efforts of all three groups. Over the past two years, we have:
  • Conducted 25 hours of cross examinations of four distinct Northern Gateway experts panels on topics ranging from caribou biology, to ornithology, to spills probability and consequence modelling
  • Filed and argued four motions which have succeeded in adducing critical new evidence around caribou issues, and drawing national attention to the procedural deficiencies with the current Joint Review Panel process
  • Made five trips to northern B.C. usually of 3 to 4 days duration or longer including
  • 2 trips to Prince George, B.C.
  • 3 trips to Prince Rupert, B.C.
  • 1 trip to Terrace, B.C.
  • Completed a 92 page single spaced final written argument
  • Completed oral argument in reply to Enbridge two hours after Enbridge delivered theirs
  • Secured media coverage of BC Nature and Nature Ccanada and interviews in The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, Vancouver Sun and dozens of other newspapers, national and local radio and television, Canadian Lawyer and a forthcoming feature piece in American Lawyer
Well over 1,000 hours of senior lawyer time, 2,000 hours of student time as well as thousands of dollars in travel costs and other disbursements were provided pro bono by the UVic Environmental Law Centre and its funders during this process. In a recent conversation, we asked Chris Tollefson, Executive Director of the Environmental Law Centre, to reflect on some of the ground-breaking moments in our involvement in the hearings. Nature Canada: Enbridge has been arguing that the project poses little threat to BC’s wilderness, even as they attempt to explain spills like the one in Michigan’s Kalamazoo River. The evidence we submitted to the panel suggests otherwise. What did you argue? Chris Tollefson: From the beginning we have argued that Enbridge has underestimated the project’s risks. First we focused on the endangered woodland caribou. Enbridge misjudges the threat of increased mortality from predators, and the impact that fragmentation of habitat will have on the caribou’s ability to feed and breed. Nature Canada: What was so flawed about Enbridge’s science on the woodland caribou? Chris Tollefson: Their assessments are far too rosy. For example: • Enbridge relied on just a single source – an unpublished, non-peer-reviewed slide show on Yukon Caribou – to derive the 'linear feature density' number that they say justifies the project. The problem is that the number is unsupportable, and the source they rely on never actually approved of the number in the first place. Mark Hume of the Globe says that this error, uncovered in our cross-examination, "might just be enough to sink the project". • Enbridge used data that looked at the availability of caribou winter habitat without considering summer habitat availability. A robust analysis would have looked at both. • We fought – successfully – to have new caribou research entered into evidence that raised urgent questions about the fate of caribou, wolves and the Gateway Pipeline. Nature Canada:  And what about Enbridge’s claims about the potential impact of oil spills? Chris Tollefson: First of all, the company avoids looking at worst-case scenarios, such as a spill within the globally significant Scott Islands Important Bird Area. To truly understand the total risk involved of a project that would bring giant tankers into these pristine waters at the rate of one every other day, we argued that the consequences are too high to do anything but prepare for the worst. Secondly, Enbridge has downplayed the consequences of an oil spill by arguing the "scientific literature is clear” that species inevitably recover. We forced them to concede, however, that none of the studies they cite involved marine mammals, and only one study of marine birds they cite showed post-spill ‘recovery’. Enbridge also failed to consider the potential impact of oil spills on open ocean wanderers such as albatrosses and shearwaters. We would like to thank BC Nature and the Environmental Law Centre for their hard work, ingenuity and perseverance during the hearings. Recommendations from the Panel to the federal government are expected later this year. For a summary of our participation in the Northern Gateway Pipeline hearings, read our previous posts on the topic here.

BC Nature and Nature Canada Make Final Oral Argument Before Joint Review Panel
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BC Nature and Nature Canada Make Final Oral Argument Before Joint Review Panel

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="320"]Young Grizzly Bear Young Grizzly Bear by Tom Middleton[/caption] BC Nature and Nature Canada made their final oral argument last week on June 17 before the Joint Review Panel, which is considering the future of the Enbridge Northern Gateway project. These nature conservation groups are urging the Panel to conclude that the Northern Gateway application is incomplete, and therefore must be rejected. Under the National Energy Board Act, the Panel can only make a recommendation to the federal cabinet if it concludes that the pipeline application is complete. Even if the Panel recommends against the project, cabinet can reject the Panel's recommendation. However, if the Panel concludes that the application is incomplete, there is no recommendation to cabinet, and cabinet cannot approve the project. BC Nature and Nature Canada have been joint intervenors in the Northern Gateway review process for two years. During that time, they have led evidence on the project's potential impacts on the SARA listed woodland caribou and on terrestrial and marine birds, and have cross-examined Northern Gateway experts at four witness panels for a total of 25 hours. The nature conservation groups contend that Northern Gateway's environmental assessment is deficient and incomplete for a variety of reasons. These include its failure:

  • to properly assess impacts on SARA listed woodland caribou,
  • to provide a detailed baseline inventory of wildlife species impacted by the project,
  • to analyze consequences of oil spills on marine bird populations, and
  • to properly estimate the likelihood of an oil spill from tankers along the BC coast.
"The Exxon Valdez oil spill has shown us the catastrophic impact a spill can have on the marine bird species in the Pacific coast, some of which have yet to show signs of recovery after more than two decades," says Rosemary Fox, BC Nature's Conservation Chair. "Northern Gateway's claim that marine ecosystems recover within an average of five years after an oil spill shows that they have not learned anything from the Exxon Valdez experience." In its recent written final argument to the Panel, the Province of British Columbia recommends against approval of the project. This argument is based mainly on the inadequacy of information Northern Gateway has put forward regarding oil spill response, prevention, recovery, and mitigation. "We support the BC government's stance against this project. Northern Gateway's spill response plans are woefully inadequate," says Ian Davidson, Executive Director of Nature Canada. "However, Northern Gateway's application is also deficient in many other areas, such as baseline inventories of globally and continentally significant marine bird populations and Important Bird Areas impacted by this project," Davidson says. "In our opinion, the only reasonable conclusion that the Panel can draw is that the application is incomplete, and therefore must be rejected."

Northern Gateway Pipeline: Update
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Northern Gateway Pipeline: Update

[two_third] We just updated our members on Nature Canada’s involvement in the Northern Gateway Pipeline hearings and I thought I would share the same update here on the blog. As you will remember, the Northern Gateway Pipeline would carry tar sands oil from Alberta to the BC coast. Straight through the Great Bear Rainforest, home to the endangered spirit bear. Endangered whales will share the waters with giant oil tankers. And the threat of oil spills looms over 30 Important Bird Areas (IBAs). Enbridge has been arguing that the project poses little threat to the pristine wilderness of British Columbia, (even as they've attempted to explain spills like the one in Michigan’s Kalamazoo River.) Caribou will be fine, they say. Birds will be fine, they say. We've argued, along with our joint intervener BC Nature, that their assessments are far too rosy. And, with pro bono help from lawyers at the University of Victoria's Environmental Law Centre,  we were able to uncover the weak science Enbridge used in their endangered woodland caribou risk assessment. For example: •    Enbridge relied on just a single source – an unpublished, non-peer-reviewed slide show on Yukon Caribou – to make its risk assessment, an error that some observers say “might just be enough to sink the project.” (Globe and Mail, Nov. 11, 2012) •    Enbridge used data on caribou mortality in winter for their research, but failed to consider summer mortality, which recent literature clearly shows is the more significant measure. •    We fought – successfully – to have new caribou research entered into evidence that “raises urgent questions about the fate of caribou, wolves and the Gateway Pipeline” (Globe and Mail, Nov. 18, 2012). Next up: on February 4, we will return to Prince Rupert to question Enbridge about the risk of oil spills to BC’s marine life. (If you want to help with our efforts at the hearings, your gift would be greatly appreciated). It’s simple. When you move oil, you spill oil. It’s not a question of if a spill will occur – it’s a question of when. This is still a fight we need to win. Want to read past posts on Northern Gateway? Here you go. [/two_third] [one_third_last] [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="263"]Image of a moose Photo: Wayne Sawchuck[/caption] [/one_third_last]

Questions for Enbridge at the Northern Gateway Hearings Today
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Questions for Enbridge at the Northern Gateway Hearings Today

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="213"]Image of a caribou Photo by Wayne Sawchuck[/caption] Today is a big day for Nature Canada in our campaign to protect British Columbia's wildlife from the Northern Gateway Pipeline project. Today, we finally have a chance to directly ask Enbridge some hard questions about their proposal, and whether the energy giant's plans are truly in the public interest. We've been joint interveners with BC Nature in the ongoing federal review of this project from the beginning.  And from the beginning we have argued that Enbridge has underestimated the project’s risks to the endangered woodland caribou, using flawed methods that misjudge the threat of increased mortality from predators, and the impact that fragmentation of habitat will have on the caribou’s ability to feed and breed. The elusive and shy woodland caribou are the ‘grey ghosts’ of Canada’s wilderness, and their numbers are in decline throughout Canada.   The southern mountain population are listed as threatened on Schedule 1 of the federal Species at Risk Act. It is similarly listed on provincial at-risk lists in British Columbia and Alberta. In particular, the pipeline could hasten the decline of the Little Smokey, Narraway and Hart herds. Caribou need large areas of undisturbed old growth woodland. This is directly connected to their survival, as these forests not only provide a necessary food source, but by keeping caribou geographically separated from moose and elk -- other prey, in other words -- the forest offers protection from predators like wolves, lynx, cougar, coyote, and bears. The Northern Gateway pipeline project would cut pathways into these forests, opening up networks of roads, cleared pipeline right of way and other infrastructure that penetrate their isolated habitat and provide linear corridors for predators to travel. These roads and lines also enable recreational access by ATVs, snowmobiles, hunters and poachers. Regenerated forest areas enhance tender shoots of grass shrubs and trees, which are food for elk, deer and moose. Their presence, in turn, supports predators that also prey on caribou. At the hearings, taking place in Prince George B.C., we're calling into question Enbridge’s decision to focus only on caribou mortality on winter habitat when assessing the pipeline’s effect on population health – when summertime mortality risks are as great or greater. We're also questioning the decision to focus only on how caribou could be affected within a 15-kilometere range on either side of the pipeline, rather than how the project would affect caribou herds throughout their entire range. To help us, we've enlisted the aid of the University of Victoria’s Environmental Law Centre to represent us, on a pro bono basis, during the Enbridge hearings. They've been a tremendous resource for us so far, and we're grateful for their expertise! While the focus of the panel hearings this week is on caribou, terrestrial wildlife aren't the only ones threatened by the pipeline. Marine birds and other wildlife face risks from increased tanker traffic and potential oil spills -- something we look forward to questioning Enbridge about later on in the hearings. We also need to appear two other times to submit to questioning from Enbridge's lawyers. We're ready, and we're more than willing -- but all of this travel does add up. You can help make sure we're at these hearings making the case for Canada's wildlife by voting for our project in Mountain Equipment Co-op's Big Wild Bucks contest. If our project earns the most votes, we'll win a $5,000 grant to help cover the costs of participating in the Northern Gateway hearings.  Cast your vote!

Recovery Strategy for Caribou Falls Short
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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: [separator headline="h2" title="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. [separator headline="h2" title="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. [separator headline="h2" title="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.

Send Letter Urging Stronger Protection for Endangered Boreal Woodland Caribou
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Send Letter Urging Stronger Protection for Endangered Boreal Woodland Caribou

Image of a caribou
**Less than two weeks remain for you to help protect the Boreal Woodland Caribou by sending a letter urging stronger protection for this endangered species** The Boreal Woodland Caribou is threatened by industrial activities that have caused some herds to be critically endangered – and the rest are under increasing pressure. The federal government recently proposed a recovery strategy  to boost the Caribou’s numbers. While 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. How can you help? The recovery strategy is open to public comment until February 22, 2012. Send a letter asking Environment Minister Peter Kent to take these measures: 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 The proposal would keep, at most, only 65% of the caribou’s range intact, and as little as 5%.  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. This is not a sustainable solution – protecting intact habitat is the solution. With your help, we can speak up on behalf of the Boreal Woodland Caribou and ensure stronger measures are taken to protect this iconic species. Send your letter today!

Stop Enbridge’s Northern Gateway Pipeline
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Stop Enbridge’s Northern Gateway Pipeline

Image on an Otter
You can't protect something once it’s gone.Imagine it: Pollution from tanker traffic. Devastating oil spills. Destruction of pristine habitat for sea otters, killer whales, seabirds, caribou and even iconic spirit bears.That’s what’s awaiting British Columbia’s northern coast and hundreds of species of birds, animals and other wildlife that thrive in this region if we don’t take action right now. The controversial Northern Gateway Pipeline project proposes to carry tar sands oil from Alberta across the Rockies to the northern B.C. port of Kitimat. Giant tankers -- some nearly as long as the Empire State Building is tall -- loaded with crude oil headed for Asia would navigate through the pristine and rugged northern B.C. coast at the unbelievable rate of about one every second day. If given a go-ahead, the pipeline project would: •    Fragment the boreal forest, home to birds and other wildlife, including Woodland Caribou and Grizzly Bears. •    Expose the Great Bear Rainforest, home to wolves and the iconic Spirit Bear, and 30 internationally recognized Important Bird Areas teeming with marine birds, fish and other animals to potential oil spills and pollution from increased tanker traffic. •    Risk irreversible harm to the livelihoods of many coastal and aboriginal communities. Image of a map of oil spill damageNature Canada and BC Nature have officially registered to participate as interveners in the environmental assessment of the Northern Gateway Pipeline project. As interveners, we are providing expert testimony about the impact that the pipeline and increased tanker traffic will have on marine birds, Important Bird Areas, and other wildlife like the woodland caribou. But we need you too. Raise your voice! Send your letter and be part of our efforts to protect B.C.’s fragile coast from tanker traffic and oil spills. We’ll take your message directly to the panel when we take part in the public hearings. It's simple: when you move oil, you spill oil. It's not a question of if a spill will occur -- it's a question of when. Our country’s wildlife is depending on us to speak up on their behalf and put a stop to the Northern Gateway Pipeline project before it’s too late. Add your voice and send your letter today!

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