Please take a moment to consider the plight of British Columbia's Mountain Caribou - a made-in-Canada wilderness icon currently blinking out one herd at a time, and now profoundly threatened by a major logging company.
Link here for further details: www.wellsgrayworldheritage.ca
The Mountain Caribou is the world’s most southerly reindeer and the only one adapted to padding around in 2 to 3 m of snow and foraging hair lichens from the branches of trees.
Virtually all Mountain Caribou are now resident in the Columbia Mountains of southeast British Columbia where, ironically, the B.C. government’s Mountain Caribou recovery plan is driving them to extinction.
Clearcut logging adjacent to their winter range creates habitat for deer and moose, as well as for wolves, their main predator. Create enough clearcuts, and sooner or later some of the wolves range into protected areas where they predate upon Mountain Caribou instead.
Rather than accept this fact of life, B.C.'s political leaders prefer to continue logging near Mountain Caribou winter habitat and instead wage war on the enlarged wolf populations their policies have thereby created.
Predictably, this isn’t working. Since the mid 90s, B.C.'s Mountain Caribou populations has dwindled from 2,500 animals to fewer than 1,500 – a far cry from the government's much touted goal to return the population to 2,500 animals by 2027.
According to best science, there are only two regions likely to support Mountain Caribou a century from now. One of these is the Hart Ranges in the north, the other is a vast wilderness area called Wells Gray Provincial Park, about 100 km north of Kamloops.
Bad as things already are for Wells Gray’s Mountain Caribou, they could soon get much worse thanks to a major logging company, which has lately announced its intention to clearcut 1000 ha of forestland against the southern boundary of the park.
In effect this will put the park’s remaining animals at even greater risk of predation and, in so doing, kibosh any hope of recovery in a protected area originally established to provide them lasting sanctuary.
Ensuring a future for our nationally threatened Mountain Caribou is a Canadian responsibility; nobody can do it for us. In this lead-up period to the B.C. provincial election on 14 May, please pass this around to your friends and urge B.C.’s political leaders:
• to create a moratorium on logging adjacent to southern Wells Gray through a provincial Land Use Order. There should be no further industrial-scale logging adjacent to Wells Gray Park pending a broad-based public review.
• to adopt low-elevation “Caribou Matrix Management Zones” throughout the range of the Mountain Caribou. Such management zones are urgently needed adjacent to high-elevation winter habitat, which already receives protection.