Threatened caribou habitat protected

Posted on October 10th, 2007

Source: CPAWS Manitoba

The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) and forestry corporation Tembec have negotiated a minimum 50-year halt on logging in an area used extensively by woodland caribou on the east side of Lake Winnipeg.

Habitat protection is key to maintaining populations of this threatened species, as they are extremely sensitive to human developments.

“This is good news for caribou. CPAWS looks forward to our ongoing efforts with Tembec to increase protections for caribou,” stated Ron Thiessen, Executive Director of the CPAWS Manitoba chapter. “Healthy boreal forests are critical to caribou survival.”

A 50-year deferral of forestry operations in the area provides security for some of the herd’s most important habitat while allowing ongoing research to identify more about survival needs of this threatened species.

“Winter is an important season for woodland caribou. Their survival depends on finding areas with sufficient food, favourable snowcover, and few predators — conditions that are characteristic of old forests,” according to Dr. Jim Schaefer, Associate Professor, Biology Department, Trent University.

The Owl Lake woodland caribou herd is located in Manitoba’s southernmost caribou range. Habitats south of their range, such as in Whiteshell Park, have been so altered by human activities that caribou no longer reside there.