- First Wildlife Overpass Outside Banff Park
- New Caribou Research
- Silent Auction & Speaker’s Event – May 28th
- Book: The Subjugation of Canadian Wildlife
New research from an indigenous-led conservation program in northwest British Columbia that is saving a caribou herd from extinction has been all over the conservation news forums lately (read more here). We’ve featured this research and story on our social media of late, but there are a few key issues we wanted to point out with research like this.
First and foremost, this program is highlighting caribou recovery, not actual caribou conservation and habitat protection that happens before caribou start to decline. This herd was in serious trouble and at one point was down to 38 individuals. Even now, after a decade of pulling all levers, it’s barely over 100 caribou.
The second is that this program is being held up as a “shining example of…how to recover caribou and their habitat.” This is a true statement on its own (and should absolutely be celebrated for what it has achieved), but the fact that the program has had to pull every single mitigation lever at its disposal (wolf culling, habitat protection, hunting restrictions, access restrictions, habitat restoration, full First Nations buy-in, and calf maternity penning) to get positive results is troubling. For one, it’s not very transferable to other areas or jurisdictions. Not every caribou herd has a financially secure First Nations group willing and/or able to set aside their hunting rights, their access rights, and huge swaths of their territory into protected habitat.
Third, it is also troubling that there are no clear examples lately of provinces and Indigenous groups working together to protect caribou habitat before it’s too late and caribou start to decline in areas like northern BC. This is despite what we currently know about the status of woodland caribou across the country from British Columbia to Quebec (that the species is in serious trouble). One wonders if having a “shining example” of how to recover caribou from this one small herd will actually embolden provincial governments to further push real caribou conservation down the road knowing now that there are ways to recover populations (even if they’re often likely not replicable). In fact, Alberta just released five-year caribou range plans for two northern Alberta herds and not a single bit of habitat was protected (despite ongoing wolf culls in both herd ranges) and First Nations input was ignored.
At this point, it seems the best path forward is going to be for Canada’s Environment Minister to step in and force the provinces to protect habitat under the Species at Risk Act. Please consider writing to the Honourable Steven Guilbeault to ask him to take action now to help save Canada’s woodland caribou at Steven.Guilbeault@parl.gc.ca
Exciting news out of the Canmore area as the Alberta government announced that construction on Alberta’s first wildlife overpass outside of Banff National Park began last week. EWC submitted an official letter to the provincial government requesting action on a wildlife overpass in the Lac Des Arcs/Bow Valley Provincial Park area in 2020-21 and Board Member Sarah Elmeligi was also an active participant in trying to get this overpass into construction. We’re all hopeful that this will create some additional momentum for future crossings and mitigation infrastructure in the Bow Valley and beyond. To read more about the overpass, check out Y2Y’s blog post on the subject click here.
And speaking of our Board of Directors, Dr. Sarah Elmeligi was recently selected as the NDP candidate for the Bow Valley-Kananaskis riding! We’re thrilled to have her running provincially with such a strong conservation background, even though we do realize that if she wins, she will need to resign from her position with us.
Mark your calendars! From May 21st to 29th, we will be hosting our very first virtual silent auction! There will be an amazing selection of unique and exclusive items that will be offered to bring “nature into your home, or bring you to nature”, including…
100% of all proceeds will used be to raise awareness and support of Canada’s apex predators.
On May 28th, we will be sharing a video presentation featuring an expert panel of conservationists and wildlife advocates that will be discussing and exploring the most pressing wildlife management challenges facing us today. This will include a discussion on creating buffer zones and carnivore conservation areas. Thomas Knowles from Echo Conservation will also be joining us to talk about cougar coexistence.
We recently came across this book thanks to a recommendation from our colleagues at The Fur-Bearers. And frankly, the book has been a revelation. We can’t recommend it enough to anyone that wants to wrap their heads around every aspect of wildlife management in Canada. Dr. Foran challenges policymakers and society alike to start thinking anew about how and why we value wildlife and how we should stop managing wildlife for humans and instead start monitoring wildlife for the benefit of wildlife itself.
And if reading a book isn’t your thing these days and you’d rather listen to a podcast, you can also catch Dr. Foran talking about the book on The Defender Radio podcast by The Fur-Bearers here.
We were thrilled to get the opportunity to interview Dr. Foran for our upcoming Trapped in the Past documentary recently. In the meantime, we hope you enjoy reading or listening to his thoughts and critiques on Canadian wildlife management.