All talk, no action on boreal caribou habitat protection update
Friday, December 21, 2018
Vancouver, BC – Earlier today, the federal government quietly released its second report on progress towards protection of boreal caribou critical habitat across Canada, which once again calls out significant gaps in protection and notes an overall lack of progress across Canada. The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, BC Chapter (CPAWS-BC) notes that this report, which is two months overdue, contains very little by way of updates on habitat protection.
“If the point of these reports is to note progress on what critical habitat has been protected for boreal caribou, once again the government has missed the mark, especially in BC,” says Jessie Corey, Terrestrial Conservation Manager of CPAWS-BC.
“While it’s encouraging to see some of the progress the province has made towards delivering on their responsibilities, for example in identifying spatial priorities for protection with the Fort Nelson First Nation, all this report really does is divert attention away from the fact that in the last eight months, no new protection has been put in place on the ground where these caribou herds continue to decline,” says Corey.
Worryingly, the report mentions new protections in only a handful of provinces – Alberta, Quebec, Labrador, and NWT – but none in BC.
Additionally, in many places across the country, provinces and territories are setting new deadlines for long overdue targets, because their focus has largely been directed elsewhere. The province of BC, for example, has reported on restoration and monitoring initiatives, which are important tools in the caribou recovery toolbox, but ultimately they have no place in a report about habitat protection.
“We have a collective responsibility to protect and steward important wildlife like boreal caribou, and the federal government’s report proves that we’re not taking this responsibility seriously enough,” says Corey.
The urgency to act is greater than ever for these caribou. CPAWS-BC is calling for stricter adherence to reporting requirements for these SARA Section 63 reports, so that they can become more effective tools for tracking progress towards protecting habitat, and identifying exactly where protection is still needed.
For interview, contact:
Jessie Corey,Terrestrial Conservation Manager, CPAWS-BC
(604) 685-7445 ext 25
To access the SARA Section 63 report: https://registrelep-sararegistry.gc.ca/virtual_sara/files/policies/CH_Protection_NFL_EN.pdf