Save Woodland Caribou
Since the 2005 Alberta Woodland Caribou Recovery Plan has been in place, Alberta’s caribou outlook has worsened. One population has died out, ten are in decline, two are stable either wholly or partly due to a mass wolf kill program in west central Alberta, one adjacent to the NWT is stable, and three have inadequate data.
The biggest threats to caribou are uncurbed cumulative effects of resource extraction industries, which destroy and fragment their habitat. In disturbed habitat, caribou can no longer stay away from other prey (moose, deer, elk), predators (wolves, bears) and stressors like motorized vehicles and noisy equipment. Calf survival rates plummet.
Caribou need at least 65% of their range to be undisturbed habitat. New protected areas announced in 2012 will protect 20% of caribou range (up from 6%) in northeast Alberta from oil sands, forestry and new oil and gas leases; however, existing oil and gas leases can still go ahead. Promises to set overall land use disturbance limits or caribou habitat targets in regional plans remain unfulfilled.
The Alberta Government’s 2011 woodland caribou policy states that the immediate priority is maintenance of habitat, yet the government continues to issue leases and approve new surface disturbance in caribou ranges across Alberta. Existing project-level operating guidelines are inadequate as a sole tool to halt population declines.
We can make a difference by committing to protect and restore habitat and enforcing higher standards of practice for all, including recreationists, industrial operators and regulators. AWA is pursuing channels to legally protect caribou and their habitat – we need financial support to continue this effort.
There are less than 3,000 caribou remaining in Alberta. They need your help today. Please support our work, give generously!
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