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

Woodland caribou are beautiful creatures, perfectly adapted to Alberta’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 Alberta to produce range plans with protected areas, extensive cutline recovery, and clustered development so caribou can recover and communities can thrive. 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 has increased, 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 Alberta pledged to provide range management plans within 5 years.

In June 2016 Alberta committed to set up large new protected areas in three northwest caribou ranges, in areas without industrial forestry. Now they need strong encouragement to stick to this promise.

Alberta has also paused new energy lease auctions in caribou range until range plans are finished. However, new disturbance continues, without any plans outlining how to reach the minimum 65% undisturbed habitat needed to recover caribou. We need strong range plans for healthy communities and healthy caribou populations.

Time is running out!

What’s happening now?

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

June 25, 2018 Letter of Support from 17 companies

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

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

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 News Releases on Alberta’s Draft Plan: Alberta Wilderness Association and CPAWS Northern Alberta

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. 28, 2017  Letter to Alberta MLAs

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

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

Nov. 15, 2017 Calgary screening of ‘Last Stand: The Vanishing Caribou Rainforest’

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

Take Action!

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

Caribou For Ever Rally, Alberta Legislature Steps

November 28, 2017

Let your voice be heard.

Who is working to save caribou?

The organizations listed below are working to save caribou, secure legislative protection for their habitat and help develop better management of our forests for wildlife and jobs.

We can’t succeed without your help and support!

You can contact any one of these organizations for further information.

Harmony Foundation

This website supported by funding from Harmony Foundation.