Endangered species protection plan is not enough

Immediate action is needed to protect the boreal forest for the woodland caribou that rely on it

Photo Parks Canada

Photo Parks Canada

WASHINGTON (July 28, 2017) – The Canadian government released an action plan on the woodland caribou, the nation’s iconic species that is endangered by development and disruption of its habitat in the boreal forest.

Following is a statement from Anthony Swift, Director of the Canada Project at the Natural Resources Defense Council:

“The facts are clear; woodland caribou are in danger and have been for years. We know enough now to act.

“While we are glad to see the Canadian federal government is paying attention to the plight of woodland caribou in the boreal and the provinces’ action plans, this announcement does little to address the concerns of the public and First Nations that the caribou – key to the continuation of Canadian traditions and identity – will be protected. Prime Minister Trudeau and Minister McKenna have the power to ensure woodland caribou habitat is protected on a much faster timeline than what they include in this plan.”

Anthony Swift of the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) based in New York said in a press release in June that the Canadian government failed to recognize that “its policy of actively approving industrial development in the boreal without a scientifically credible plan to ensure it could be conducted sustainably greatly undermined the Val-d’Or [Caribou] herd’s chances of persisting in its natural habitat.” He said that for decades, Quebec ignored multiple warnings and allowed developments that degraded the herd’s habitat. “Even this year,” Swift continues, “Quebec approved the Eacom Timber Corporation’s application to construct an access road through critical caribou habitat against the advice of the government’s own scientists.”

Shelley Vinyard, Boreal Corporate Campaign Manager at NRDC said in her blog that U.S. purchasers of harvested wood products play a central role in driving solutions for the Woodland Caribou habitat crisis and “setting expectations for sustainable practices.”