The Manitoba government’s continued refusal to include the woodland caribou on its endangered species list is contributing to the species’ declining numbers, according to wilderness experts.
Manitoba wildlife conservation experts say the province’s efforts to date – including a recently published recovery strategy for woodland caribou – fall far short of the mark.
Ron Thiessen, executive director of the Manitoba chapter of CPAWS said Manitoba Premier Gary Doer has received 10,000 letters over the past year asking the province to commit to protecting the caribou habitat by listing it as a threatened species.
Yesterday, Conservation Minister Stan Struthers said plenty of work and money has gone into the province’s analysis of the caribou’s situation and it is close to committing to protecting the animal.
But Thiessen said that minister said the same thing a year ago.
Although the federal Species at Risk Act lists the caribou as threatened, the province has refused to follow suit although it has made several commitments in the past to do so. Listing caribou as a threatened species would mean the province would have to commit to protecting its habitat.
There are an estimated 1,800-to-3,100 caribou left in the province, less than half the population of 50 years ago.