It’s time to take caribou survival seriously
Ontario and Canada have been working to create a conservation agreement, defined under the federal Species at Risk Act as a voluntary agreement “to benefit a species at risk or enhance its survival in the wild.”
In the framework, Ontario continues to pat its own shoulders about its so-called “robust provincial framework that includes laws, policies and processes to protect and recover caribou and their habitat in Ontario.”
It doesn’t mention that the forest industry has been exempted from the Endangered Species Act, that the insurance plan to protect caribou outlined in the Caribou Conservation Plan has never been implemented and that the Range Management Policy, in place since 2014, has led to ongoing caribou declines.
Science has been available since 2008 that outlines a risk-based approach to caribou management by applying disturbance thresholds. The 2012 federal recovery strategy required provinces to apply it to every caribou range, but Ontario has failed to do so.
The framework for the conservation agreement as presented will pave the way for more business-as-usual forestry operations in the province. It must not be finalized unless it is significantly improved.
Please take a moment to let the provincial and federal governments know that funnelling money into status quo operations that will continue to fragment caribou habitat flies in the face of commitments to halt and reverse nature loss.