Province giving 6.5M for caribou recovery but ignores habitat protection

Thursday, October 17, 2019
Charlotte Dawe

VANCOUVER –  The province recently announced $6.5 million to go towards southern mountain caribou habitat protection but protecting habitat from logging and other industrial activity isn’t mentioned, not even once. All the money is going to habitat restoration with no mention of halting further habitat destruction. 

“Industry has left a disastrous mess in the province, the government is cleaning up a sliver of the mess with taxpayer money while letting industry off the hook,” said Conservation and Policy Campaigner Charlotte Dawe. “Sadly this restoration will simultaneously happen as industry continues to destroy habitat in the form of industrial roads, seismic lines and logging cutblocks.”

These at-risk southern mountain caribou have seen sharply declining numbers due to loss of habitat caused by industrial activities. Some herds have disappeared completely in the face of widespread habitat destruction.

The government will be funding projects that restore habitat in hopes of blocking predators from accessing habitat. This approach includes planting trees, spreading wood debris and installing fences. 

“Don’t get me wrong, habitat needs to be restored but the announcement is missing the most important thing — habitat protection,” said Dawe. “It’s like we’re bailing out a sinking boat while jackhammering the bottom.” 

The B.C. government is also increasing the wolf cull by up to 80 per cent in some areas to protect caribou. They are doubling down on this controversial and questionable short term strategy while ignoring the elephant in the room — habitat destruction. 

Habitat destruction has been identified by leading caribou biologists as the ultimate cause of caribou decline.

“The day the government commits to protecting all remaining critical habitat from destruction is the day I finally believe their intentions to save caribou are genuine,” said Dawe. “Until then, the wolf culls and funding for restoration are all short-term band-aid measures meant to keep the federal government looking the other way and industry happy while the caribou continue to fade away.” 

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For more information, please contact:

Charlotte Dawe | Conservation and Policy Campaigner
778 903 3992, charlotte@wildernesscommittee.org

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