Manitoba Woodland Caribou Recovery Strategy released

Best strategy in the nation needs swift implementation to save threatened species

For Immediate Release
October 15, 2015

(Winnipeg) The Manitoba government has released its long awaited final strategy to prevent woodland caribou populations from local extinction. As a threatened species, provinces are required by law to develop recovery strategies for the species and action plans for all caribou ranges.

With the objective of conserving large intact caribou habitats, CPAWS believes Manitoba’s strategy is the strongest in the nation and will benefit not only the species but also the boreal forest in Manitoba and the communities that depend on it. We all need the boreal to remain a fully-functioning ecosystem so it can continue to provide critical services including oxygen production, water filtration, flood mitigation, and carbon storage, which helps to slow the impacts of climate change. It also provides a home for hundreds of other boreal animals including moose, wolves, beaver and over 250 bird species and supports industries and subsistence use of wildlife, plants and waters.

The strategy exceeds national requirements by committing to protect and manage for 65-80% intact suitable boreal caribou habitat in each caribou management unit. CPAWS worked closely with the province to ensure this would be recognized as a cornerstone of recovery efforts. 

Now, the implementation process is where the document will show its value.

Although provincial biologists are doing excellent work regarding caribou survival, CPAWS believes that a lack of government capacity is largely responsible for the province extending the timelines for caribou action plans identified in the draft caribou strategy, released in 2014.

“We were hopeful that the province would meet the national requirements to develop action plans by 2017 at the latest,” stated CPAWS Executive Director, Ron Thiessen. “These plans are needed now but we will have to wait until 2018 for caribou units considered at high risk of decline and 2020 for the rest. The test of this strategy will be if it is implemented swiftly and effectively,” says Thiessen, “The province must put the resources in place to accelerate this process.”

CPAWS works with governments, Indigenous communities, and commercial stakeholders as we believe that conserving boreal woodland caribou habitat across the country is possible while also ensuring prosperous communities.

The final strategy comes on the heels of over 10,000 signatures provided to the province calling for a final recovery strategy that upholds the large habitat protection priority and urged swift, on the ground implementation.

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Access a copy of the recovery strategy at: http://www.gov.mb.ca/conservation/wildlife/sar/pdf/cariboustrategy_octfall2015.pdf

For the Manitoba government news release visit: http://news.gov.mb.ca/news/index.html?item=36435&posted=2015-10-15

For more information and interviews, contact: Ron Thiessen, 204-794-4971 or ron@cpawsmb.org