Woodland Caribou are an iconic Canadian species and they are in real trouble. 

Woodland caribou are beautiful creatures, perfectly adapted to Canada’s forests. With their large hooves, they ‘crater’ through winter snow to find lichen to eat, and move over wetlands and snowpack that other animals cannot easily cross. They live in old growth forests and peat wetland areas, which other prey species such as deer and moose avoid. That’s how caribou have been able to live alongside natural predators like wolves and bears for thousands of years.

Even if most of us never see majestic wild caribou, we know it is important that they thrive.

Healthy Caribou. Healthy Forests. Healthy Communities.

Today, woodland caribou survival is threatened by relentless resource development in their critical habitat and by the fear of change. The best scientific standard is to manage forests so at least 65% of a population’s home range is undisturbed. Local communities will prosper along with caribou if resource management changes, adapts to what has happened and is based on ecosystems and the recovery of overly exploited forest.

We need comprehensive range plans with protected areas, extensive cutline recovery, and clustered development so caribou can recover and communities can thrive. We also need those plans to respect Indigenous rights and knowledge. Healthy forests mean there will be long-term jobs for communities. Forests capture carbon, regulate climate, produce oxygen and deliver other ecological benefits. Forests provide homes and resting places for hundreds of other species and their wise management is vital to our health and economy.

Caribou and resource jobs are not competing goals. Both depend on healthy forests. The best way to save caribou and jobs is to manage our forests responsibly.

What happened?

For more than forty years conservationists have been calling upon government and industry to work with resource communities, First Nations and environmental groups to protect caribou and their habitat and to diversify economic opportunities in resource dependent areas.

Despite repeated assurances of protective actions from government and industry, resource extraction impacts kept increasing, pushing caribou in many areas to the brink of extinction. In 2012 Environment Canada committed to carry out a long-overdue national caribou recovery strategy and gave provinces five years to develop range management plans to reach at least minimum caribou habitat requirements over time. Alberta missed the 2017 deadline.

In 2020, to avoid a federal habitat protection order, Alberta signed an agreement with the federal government, committing to finish its caribou range plans by 2025. The plans must coordinate cutblocks, access routes and other infrastructure to enable sustainable resource development and achieve caribou habitat objectives over time.

Alberta approved its first two range plans – for Cold Lake (in northeast AB) and Bistcho (in northwest AB) – in April 2022, four months behind the new schedule. These plans slowly move Alberta towards cumulative effects management down the road; they lack strong actions in the crucial first decade to maintain and restore caribou critical habitat, and lack measures to support Indigenous land-use goals including Indigenous Protected and Conserved areas.

Now Alberta needs strong encouragement to  approve and implement timely, effective plans for healthy caribou populations, forests and communities.

Time is running out!

Take Action!

Act now for healthy caribou and forests for generations to come:

Contact decision makers; let your representative know you care about caribou.

Read our Questions and Answers section.

Invite your friends to learn more at

Raise awareness in your school, workplace or community – use these cards and brochures.

Contact Us

What’s happening now?

Here are some updates on what we’ve been doing to support this cause.

May 22, 2024 ENGO News: Alberta and Ontario Lag on Threatened Boreal Caribou Recovery, Federal Report Illustrates

April 29, 2024 Joint ENGO letter to Alberta: 2023 Wildfire Season Significantly Impacted Caribou Habitat, and Highlighted Shortcomings in Caribou Range Plans

January 30, 2024 AWA News: Alberta Releases Overdue Report on Caribou Recovery, Lacks Real Action

October 24, 2023 Joint ENGO letter to Canada: Urgent Need to Advance Caribou Section 11 Commitments

October 10, 2023 Joint ENGO letter to Alberta: Urgent Need to Advance Caribou Section 11 Commitments

March 30, 2023 AWA article: Alberta Forestry Decisions: A Roadblock to Caribou Recovery?

March 2, 2023 ENGO News: Canada Confirms Plans to Repopulate At-Risk Caribou Herds with a Breeding Program in Jasper National Park

January 5, 2023 AWA article: Guardians of the Territory: Dene Tha’, Bistcho Lake, and Indigenous-led Conservation

January 5, 2023 ENGO News: Jasper National Park Buys Out Tonquin Valley Leases to Help Caribou Survive

December 20, 2022 AWA article: Endangered Caribou are Just One Sign of a Deteriorating Environment

November 21, 2022 AWA article: What’s Next for West Central Alberta’s Upper Smoky Caribou?

November 7, 2022 AWA article: Saving the Caribou: West Central Alberta Closing in on Action

October 24, 2022 AWA article: Jasper Consults on Caribou Conservation Breeding Plan

September 12, 2022 AWA news: Alberta’s Upper Smoky Caribou: Time for a Strong Land-Use Plan

September 1, 2022 AWA letter: Jasper Caribou Proposed Conservation Breeding Strategy

August 29, 2022 CPAWS blog: Learn more: Jasper National Park’s Caribou Breeding Program

June 22, 2022 AWA article: ‘Mind the Gap’ Alberta’s First Caribou Range Plans lack Near-Term Habitat Targets, Sideline Indigenous Priorities 

June 21, 2022 AWA article: [ACFN and MCFN] Inspiring Stewardship Plan for Rights, Lands and Caribou

April 13, 2022 CPAWS news: Alberta’s new caribou range plans miss the mark on Indigenous-led conservation and fail to effectively protect habitat

April 8, 2022 AWA News: Alberta’s First Caribou Range Plans: A Promising Land-Use System that Needs Stronger ‘Decade 1’ Indigenous Rights and Habitat Actions 

February 8, 2022 ENGOs and trappers news: Logging Plan Paused in Alberta’s À La Pêche Caribou Range

February 2, 2022 CPAWS news: Largest protection of boreal forest in the world grows even bigger through Indigenous leadership

January 7, 2022 AWA News: Where are Alberta’s Caribou Range Plans?

October 15, 2021 ENGOs news: Jasper National Park Takes Next Step to Help Caribou Survive Winters

September 16, 2021 CPAWS report: The importance of the Moon Creek area for species at risk recovery: A report on impacts of proposed logging by West Fraser Mills Ltd. (Hinton) in caribou critical habitat

September 2, 2021: ENGOs news: Government Map Confirms Plans to Log Old-Growth Forests Near Grande Cache, Increasing Risks to Threatened Caribou

August 19, 2021 ENGOs news: Jasper’s Caribou Need Stronger Access Management as Conservation Breeding Plan Advances

August 11, 2021 ENGOs and trappers news: The Worst Place to Clearcut in Alberta? Caribou, Wolves and Endangered Trout Think So

May 29, 2021 AWA Comments: Cold Lake Draft Sub-regional Plan

May 29, 2021 AWA Comments: Bistcho Lake Draft Sub-regional Plan

May 19, 2021 CPAWS Survey Guide to the Bistcho Lake and Cold Lake draft Sub-regional Plans for Caribou

Mar. 10, 2021 David Suzuki opinion piece: Easy way out for wildlife conservation isn’t what it appears

Feb. 16, 2021 ENGOs and Alpine Club of Canada news: Jasper National Park Caribou Statement by Recreational Users and Conservationists

Jan. 28, 2021 ENGOs and Alpine Club of Canada news: Recreational Users and Conservationists Come Together to Protect Tonquin Caribou in Jasper National Park

Jan. 25, 2021 Alpine Club of Canada blog: Backcountry Skiers: Help Jasper’s Tonquin Valley Caribou Survive

Jan. 20, 2021 CPAWS backgrounder: Management implications for mountain caribou in Jasper National Park

Dec. 18, 2020 AWA letter to federal Minister: Stronger Access Measures Needed for Jasper’s Few Remaining Caribou

Dec. 11, 2020 AWA-DSF briefing note: Jasper National Park Caribou are Almost Extirpated

Nov. 3, 2020 David Suzuki opinion piece: What do we lose when the caribou disappear?

Oct. 29, 2020 ENGOs and First Nations News: First Nations, Environmental Groups Call on Alberta and Canada to Implement Immediate Actions to Protect Boreal Caribou

Oct. 6, 2020 AWA news: Where is Parks Canada’s Plan for Jasper’s Disappearing Caribou?

Sept. 23, 2020 CPAWS opinion piece: Focus on tourism in Jasper National Park pushes caribou to local extinction

Sept. 9, 2020 AWA news: Emergency measures needed for Jasper’s few remaining caribou

Sept. 9, 2020 AWA letter to Federal Minister: Emergency measures needed for Jasper’s few remaining caribou

Feb 7, 2020 DSF Woodland Caribou Story Map

Jan. 8, 2020 AWA news: Mackenzie County land sales and task force transparency

Jan. 4, 2020 David Suzuki opinion piece: connecting the climate and biodiversity crisis

Expand to see news from 2017 to 2019

Dec. 16, 2019 AWA news: ENGOs and First Nations Alberta boreal caribou lawsuit adjourned

Dec. 9, 2019 Star opinion piece: Ontario Wood surplus shows room for forestry and caribou

Dec. 3, 2019 David Suzuki opinion piece: holding a mirror to the real overabundant species

Nov. 23, 2019 AWA letter: Teck Frontier oil sands mine

Nov. 23, 2019 AWA news: energy lease extension deadlines and caribou conservation in Alberta

Nov. 20, 2019 David Suzuki Foundation news: damage to caribou habitat is caused by industry

Nov. 5, 2019 Task forces launched to find ‘uniquely Alberta solution’ for preserving caribou

Oct. 4, 2019 AWA letter: Alberta-Canada draft conservation agreement

September 6, 2019 AWA letter: Cold Lake First Nations draft conservation agreement

Aug. 29, 2019 CPAWS Northern Alberta: draft conservation agreement

Aug. 20, 2019 David Suzuki: captive breeding flaws and the need for habitat conservation

Jul. 12, 2019 Narwhal opinion piece: how B.C.’s forest policies collide with climate change

Jul. 8, 2019 Creston Valley Advance opinion piece: condemning caribou to extinction in B.C.

Jun. 28, 2019 AWA news: B.C. Saulteau and West Moberly First Nation Partnership Agreement

Jun. 27, 2019 Harmony Foundation letter: imminent threat to southern mountain caribou

Jun. 2019 David Suzuki Foundation releases Room for Both report

Apr. 16, 2019 David Suzuki opinion piece: when does species loss become a societal crisis?

Mar. 21, 2019 Greenpeace news: review of two draft agreements on BC caribou protection

Mar. 14, 2019 Revelstoke Review opinion piece: spilling more wolf blood won’t save caribou

Mar. 14, 2019 Wilderness Committee news: approval of cutblocks in B.C caribou critical habitat

Mar. 11, 2019 AWA news: need for caribou habitat protection not wildlife manipulations

Mar. 4, 2019 Red Deer Advocate news: new Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) standards

Jan. 24, 2019 Ecojustice news: ENGOs and First file lawsuit to protect boreal caribou in Alberta

Nov. 13, 2018 Ecojustice news: ENGOs call for federal protection of Ontario’s boreal caribou

Oct. 26, 2018 News Release: Alberta Caribou Habitat Solutions Urgent on Eve of Federal Deadline

Oct. 25, 2018 Letter on Woodland Caribou Threats and FPAC Forestry Industry Report

Oct. 23, 2018 Can We Manage Caribou Ranges Differently and Have Strong Economies?
News Release
Fact Sheet

Oct. 23, 2018 Painter Robert Bateman joins activists calling for end to logging in caribou habitat

Oct. 9, 2018 David Suzuki on protecting the complex web of life

Sept. 19, 2018 Article: Scientists concerned by BC government caribou stalling

Sept. 11, 2018 NRDC on Forestry industry’s harmful impact on caribou

Sept. 7, 2018 Wildsight on Mountain caribou’s changing habitat

June 2018 AWA on Federal findings of ‘Unprotected habitat’ and ‘Imminent Threat’ for caribou

June 27, 2018 Article: Scientists’ research exposes forestry disinformation on caribou

June 25, 2018 Letter of Support from 17 companies

May 8, 2018 Government of Canada and CPAWS reach SAR reporting agreement

May 1, 2018 News releases on ‘unprotected boreal caribou habitat’ federal report: Joint ENGOs and Greenpeace

March 23, 2018 Opinion piece in National Observer – Feds must step in after Alberta backtracks on caribou protection plan

March 21, 2018  Opinion piece in the Edmonton Journal – Protecting caribou doesn’t jeopardize jobs.

March 19, 2018  Government of Alberta suspends caribou conservation plan

March 19, 2018  Government of Alberta responds to January 17, 2018 letter from ENGOs

March 15, 2018  ENGOs write to Federal Environment regarding Conservation Agreements

Mar. 12, 2018 Forestry industry won’t protect caribou

February 22, 2018  Government of Alberta responds to AWA’s comments on the Draft Provincial Woodland Caribou Range Plan

February 12, 2018 Opinion piece in The Star: We don’t have to choose between jobs and saving woodland caribou

January 17, 2018  ENGOs write to Government of Alberta with comments on Draft Provincial Woodland Caribou Range Plan

January 12, 2018 AWA Comments on Alberta’s Draft Provincial Woodland Caribou Range Plan

Dec. 19, 2017 Alberta Draft Woodland Caribou Range Plan

Dec. 5, 2017 Letter to Members of Parliament

Nov. 29, 2017 Caribou Safety Net Question in House of Commons

Nov. 28, 2017 News Release – Albertans Deliver ‘Quarters for Caribou’ to Premier

Nov. 27, 2017  Petition on Unprotected Northeast Alberta Caribou Habitat

Nov. 27, 2017   Letter Seeking Federal Safety Net Order for Northeast Alberta Caribou

Oct. 31, 2017 News Release – Important Time Lapsed Habitat Loss Evidence

Oct. 25, 2017 Letter RE: Caribou: A Shared Responsibility

Oct. 24, 2017 David Suzuki on Increasing Caribou Risks

Oct. 24, 2017 Pembina Institute on Real Cost of Development

Oct. 18, 2017 Ben & Jerry’s Letter of Support

Oct. 6, 2017 Joint Statement

Oct. 5, 2017 News Release

One Hoof in the Grave

May 1, 2018

Action at Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada Catherine McKenna’s office, Quebec
Photos credit:  Greenpeace

Caribou For Ever Rally, Alberta Legislature Steps

November 28, 2017

Photos credit:  Jose Quiroz / AWA

Who is working to save caribou?

Caribou across Canada are in crisis, with many herds facing extinction due to decades of neglect. The governments and resource companies responsible for their protection are not getting the job done, failing to set aside the habitat crucial to their survival and recovery. The organizations listed here are among the leaders campaigning to save caribou along with many First Nations. Visit their websites, inform yourself and please get involved. Thank you.

Harmony Foundation

This website is supported by funding from the Harmony Foundation, The Calgary Foundation and Alberta Wilderness Association.

Exposed Wildlife Conservancy