LETTER: Caribou protection

At the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative (Y2Y) we base our conservation advocacy on sound science. Science has been clear for decades: to recover mountain caribou, you need to protect caribou habitat. We were shocked to see Forests Minister Doug Donaldson quoted in your newspaper (B.C. Interior caribou protection area big enough, minister says), saying "we think we have enough tools at our disposal not to require additional [caribou] habitat protection areas."

At the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative (Y2Y) we base our conservation advocacy on sound science. Science has been clear for decades: to recover mountain caribou, you need to protect caribou habitat. We were shocked to see Forests Minister Doug Donaldson quoted in your newspaper (B.C. Interior caribou protection area big enough, minister says), saying “we think we have enough tools at our disposal not to require additional [caribou] habitat protection areas.”

Minister Donaldson is referred to tools like predator control – killing wolves and cougars – a short-term measure to keep caribou on the land until their habitat can recover from the decades of industrial impacts that have led to the current situation. His caribou recovery program is currently seeking up to $3 million to expand predator control activities.

In the absence of habitat protection, BC will be killing predators forever, or will at some point have to abandon the pretense of caribou recovery completely. The Minister’s remarks cast major doubt on the integrity of BC’s caribou recovery planning program, and until habitat protection is back on the table, we can no longer support it.

Candace Batycki, BC and Yukon Program Director

Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative

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