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An environmental group says more needs to be done to prevent an iconic Canadian animal from going extinct.
The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) is releasing a report today, co-authored by the David Suzuki Foundation, on the status of woodland caribou.
CBC News obtained an embargoed copy of the report, “Population Critical: How are the caribou faring?”
It comes one year after the federal government issued a recovery strategy to prevent the woodland caribou from becoming extinct.
The caribou are listed as a threatened species at risk, largely because industrial development is destroying their habitat in the boreal forest.
Ottawa’s recovery strategy gave provinces and territories three years to come up with a plan to stop the decline of caribou herds in their jurisdictions.
The CPAWS report looks at what progress has been made in the past 12 months.
‘Caribou aren’t protected’
CPAWS national executive director Éric Hébert-Daly says there has been a lot of discussion, but little else.
“The truth is while we wait and while we plan and we do all that work, the caribou aren’t protected,” he told CBC News.
CPAWS gave three provinces and territories a medium grade for showing some signs of progress.
The rest got a low mark for doing little if anything to stop industrial development.
Hébert-Daly hopes that will change in the next 12 months.
“There isn’t really a jurisdiction yet that has really shone in terms of being able to lead the way, and so we’re looking for that in the next year,” Hébert-Daly said.
Some provinces declined to comment yesterday, saying they wanted more time to read the report.
A spokesman for Environment Canada said the department will keep working “with all jurisdictions” on recovery actions for the caribou.
“The Government of Canada has already acted to protect critical habitat in Wood Buffalo National Park (N.W.T./Alberta) and Prince Alberta National Park (Sask.),” Mark Johnson said in an email to CBC News.