The province has granted $2 million to the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation to create a Caribou Habitat Restoration Fund.
“There were about 40,000 caribou in B.C. in the early 1900s. Today, there are only about 19,000 caribou left,” says Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development Minister Doug Donaldson. “We need to do whatever we can to help enhance and recover caribou habitat to rebuild the numbers of this iconic species.”
Details of the recovery program are still being finalized but will include engagement with Indigenous communities, industry recreationalists and the public. There are 54 caribou herds in B.C. but roads, trails, seismic lines and right-of-ways have changed the landscape where the animals live, which makes them vulnerable to predators.
The Caribou Habitat Restoration Fund will consist of reforestation, fencing, fertilization and other measures to decrease the number of attacks on the animals from wolves, bears and cougars.
Caribou are listed as threatened under the federal Species at Risk Act. The federal Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) has recommended that the central mountain caribou be listed as endangered.
“The goals of the provincial caribou recovery efforts directly align with the foundation’s mandate to improve conservation outcomes for British Columbia’s wildlife,” says Brian Springinotic, CEO of the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation.