PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. – The provincial government announced today that it is investing $27 million in a caribou recovery program.
Premier Christy Clark made the announcement at the 14th Annual Premier’s B.C. Natural Resources Forum earlier today. “We’re taking action to protect the long-term survival of the woodland caribou,” said Premier Clark. “We’ve already invested millions of dollars and set aside critical habitat, but stronger action is required to reverse population declines, and ensure that our children and grandchildren have the opportunity to experience these animals in the wild.”
The program will build on efforts already in place, and will have five key components.
- Critical caribou habitat protection and restoration
- Maternal penning
- Predator management
- Research and monitoring
- Increased compliance and enforcement
One of the first items that will be completed is a strategic action plan specific to the Quintette herd in the South Peace. Additional maternal penning projects, designed to increase calf survival of new caribou are also being contemplated. There are currently two maternal penning projects, one near Revelstoke and the other near West Moberly. There are 51 woodland caribou herds in British Columbia divided into four groups.
“These iconic creatures were once one of Canada’s most widespread species, found in over 80% of the country,” said Environment Minister Mary Polak. “Today, many of the province’s herds are at risk of disappearing altogether. We are taking the necessary steps to protect caribou habitat and working to ensure that economic development activities can continue without compromising caribou recovery efforts.”
The B.C. government is committed to actions that will help recover populations of species at risk. The additional investments in caribou recovery will try to reverse the decline in caribou populations. Today there are some 19,000 caribou in the province, compared to between 30,000 and 40,000 at the turn of the last century.