KAMLOOPS, B.C. – The Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation has been granted $2 million to aid in caribou habitat restoration, Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development Minister Doug Donaldson announced during his address at the B.C. Wildlife Federation’s annual conference.
“There was about 40,000 caribou in B.C. in the early 1900s. Today, there are only about 19,000 caribou left,” said Donaldson. “We need to do whatever we can to help enhance and recover caribou habitat to rebuild the numbers of this iconic species.”
The Province is creating a comprehensive caribou recovery program that includes engagement with Indigenous communities, industry, recreationists and the public. The program is intended to conserve and recover populations of the 54 caribou herds in British Columbia. Caribou habitat restoration is a key component of recovery efforts.
Roads, trails, right-of-ways and seismic lines have changed the landscape where caribou live. This makes them vulnerable to predators, such as wolves, bears and cougars. The Caribou Habitat Restoration Fund will help to disrupt these lines of sight and travel – through reforestation, fencing, fertilization and other measures – to restore the caribou’s habitat and to decrease predatory attacks.
“We are pleased that the Province has chosen to partner with us to help recover lost caribou habitat,” said Brian Springinotic, chief executive officer, Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation. “The goals of the provincial caribou recovery efforts directly align with the foundation’s mandate to improve conservation outcomes for British Columbia’s wildlife.”
The Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation and the Province are working to finalize program details.
Since its inception in 1981, the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation has invested over $170 million in grant money to more than 2,500 conservation projects in B.C., with the goal to restore, maintain or enhance native fish and wildlife populations and habitats.