Province Helping Protect Woodland Caribou Populations: Struthers

June 8, 2006

Manitoba’s woodland caribou populations are being listed as threatened
under the Endangered Species Act to strengthen steps already taken by
the province to protect herds, Conservation Minister Stan Struthers
announced today as part of Environment Week activities.

“Boreal woodland caribou populations appear to be maintaining themselves
in Manitoba but we want to ensure they are given the opportunity to not
only survive but also thrive in our province,” said Struthers.  “Listing
the animals as threatened under the Endangered Species Act is one more
step in a larger strategy.”

A strategy document, released in April of this year entitled Manitoba’s
Conservation and Recovery Strategy for Boreal Woodland Caribou, outlines
objectives and guiding principles to ensure effective management of
habitat and the creation of action plans that will sustain boreal
woodland caribou.  Ongoing research will result in the action plans
being updated as new information on this dynamic species comes forward,
the minister said.

People from the Opaskwayak, Mosakahikan and Chemawawin Cree nations, the
Brokenhead Objibway, Grand Rapids, Hollow Water, Black River and
Sagkeeng First Nations as well as the Cormorant Resource Management
Board are participating on local caribou committees in the northwest and
east side regions.  Various First Nations will also play an important
role in the development of action plans that will stem from the

During the last five years, more than $1.7 million in support has been
spent on woodland caribou, more resources than on any other species of
conservation concern in Manitoba.  Added support was provided in Budget
2006, which included new money for two biologists for management of
species at risk including the boreal woodland caribou.

Boreal woodland caribou were once found throughout Manitoba’s boreal
forest.  Their disappearance from southern parts of their historical
range is attributed to many factors including human activities affecting
habitat, predators, parasites, diseases and uncontrolled hunting.

The current population of boreal woodland caribou in Manitoba is
estimated to be between 1,800 and 3,200 spread across 10 identified
ranges in the boreal lowlands, boreal shield ecozones and in other
habitats in central Manitoba.  The area extends from the Black Lake area
in the southeast to the Lynn Lake area in the northwest.

The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada declared
the western Canadian population of boreal woodland caribou as a
vulnerable species in 1984.  The Manitoba Endangered Species Advisory
Committee assessed the status of boreal woodland caribou in Manitoba as
endangered 1994.  In 2002, the status was reassessed as threatened,
excluding coastal populations.  In 2003, the federal government listed
boreal woodland caribou as threatened.

“We need to keep in mind the boreal caribou populations when considering
proposed developments which may affect the habitat or health of caribou
herds in the future,” said Struthers.  “Management efforts are directed
at ensuring that boreal woodland caribou remain in Manitoba for
centuries to come.”

Currently, there are boreal woodland caribou management teams in place
in both the eastern and northwestern regions of Manitoba.  These teams
are comprised of knowledgeable individuals and include First Nations,
industry, Manitoba Hydro and other interested organizations.

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The Conservation and Recovery Strategy for Boreal Woodland Caribou can be found at:

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