Give Manitoba’s reindeer cousins a home for the holidays

Thursday, December 04, 2014

News Release - December 4, 2014

Woodland caribou around Nopiming Provincial Park need a protected winter home

WINNIPEG – As we celebrate this snowy winter holiday season, the Wilderness Committee is calling on Manitobans to let the provincial government know we want to give our reindeer cousins – the woodland caribou – a protected winter home.

“Images of reindeer and snowy evergreens are a memorable part of our seasonal celebrations. It’s time to care for the reindeer cousins right here in Manitoba – the woodland caribou,” said Eric Reder, Manitoba Campaign Director for the Wilderness Committee.

Woodland caribou are shy, elusive inhabitants of the boreal forest, and they avoid all sorts of forest disturbance. Logging, mining and linear disturbances such as roads all put stress on caribou.

The species is protected under both federal and provincial endangered species legislation, but action to preserve them has been slow. Four federal and provincial plans for woodland caribou have been released in the last three years, spelling out strategies for protecting them. Preserving intact woodland caribou forest habitat is recognized as the best way to ensure their survival.

“The science on woodland caribou is not controversial, and the federal and provincial plans both say the same thing,” said Reder. “Caribou need large, intact stretches of boreal forest. If they don’t get that, they don’t thrive and likely won’t survive.”

There are 15 caribou ranges in Manitoba. The Owl-Flintstone caribou range, around Nopiming Provincial Park, is the southernmost range and is most at risk. The Wilderness Committee has proposed a new protected area adjacent to Nopiming Provincial Park, called the Nopiming-Owl Lake Caribou Protected Area, based upon the habitat area and proposal identified in the 2011 Manitoba Draft Action Plan for this caribou range.

“We have a simple step for Manitobans to take this holiday season: tell the provincial government to establish a new protected forest for the Owl-Flintstone caribou,” said Reder. “Let’s give our reindeer cousins a protected winter home for the holidays.”

The Nopiming-Owl Lake Caribou Protected Area proposal is highlighted in the Wilderness Committee’s 2014 educational report, Wild Manitoba: 5 Natural Treasures at Risk.


For more information, contact:

Eric Reder, Manitoba Campaign Director, Wilderness Committee - (204) 997-8584


Additional resources:

Manitoba government Woodland Caribou Recovery Strategy 2005

Manitoba government draft Woodland Caribou Recovery Strategy 2014

Government of Canada Recovery Strategy for Woodland Caribou, Boreal Population

Images and map of caribou and proposed protected area


Photo: Caribou (Jakob Dulisse)

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