B.C. caribou recovery funding announcement welcomed by Y2Y
February 1, 2017
Provincial caribou recovery funding announcement welcomed by conservation group
Today Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative (Y2Y) is applauding an announcement from the B.C. government to spend $27-million on a comprehensive caribou recovery program.
Caribou, once found throughout the entire Y2Y landscape, are now limited to pockets in the 1.3-million square kilometre region. Most herds are in decline, and some have disappeared altogether in recent years. Tim Burkhart, Peace River Break Co-ordinator for Y2Y, emphasizes adequate protection of critical habitat is the cornerstone of successful caribou recovery and welcomes the creation of a strategic action plan for the Quintette herd in the South Peace in particular.
“It is encouraging to hear the province is putting together a meaningful action plan for South Peace Caribou. For too long B.C. has relied on voluntary management practices from industry in the Peace, and inadequate land-use designations that do not protect critical habitat from industrial disturbance, resulting in the loss of one South Peace herd and precipitous declines in all the others,” says Burkhart.
Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative is hopeful the action plan will lead to increased protection for the Hart Ranges, which are becoming the South Peace region’s last refuge for wildlife in a sea of development. Burkhart also notes Treaty 8 First Nations have the legal right to hunt caribou, but have not been able to exercise this right since the 1970s.
“The Wild Hart mountains are the last contiguous intact forest landscape in the South Peace and home to the Quintette and other northern caribou herds. Protection and restoration of this landscape would be a critical first step toward restoring these animals to their historic population and ensuring Treaty 8 is upheld,” says Candace Batycki, Y2Y’s B.C. and Yukon Program Director.
The Canadian Wildlife Service is currently reviewing B.C.’s approach to caribou recovery, with initial assessments due any day. The federal review was triggered by the potential re-opening of two coal mines in the South Peace. There are large differences between the federal woodland caribou recovery strategy and B.C.’s caribou management plans, including the amount of critical habitat identified.
“We look forward to working with the province, First Nations and all stakeholders to develop and implement meaningful caribou recovery across the Yellowstone to Yukon region,” says Jodi Hilty, President and Chief Scientist at Y2Y.
For further comment:
Candace Batycki, Y2Y Program Director – British Columbia and Yukon
250-352-3830 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Tim Burkhart, Y2Y Peace River Break Co-ordinator
250-719-9614 | email@example.com
Media: High resolution photos of South Peace caribou are available. Contact Kelly Zenkewich, Y2Y Communications Co-ordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org or 403-609-2666 ext. 112 for access.