Ontario Seeking to Protect Woodland Caribou

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The Ontario government is taking action to protect species at risk by inviting the public to comment on a draft recovery strategy for forest-dwelling woodland caribou, Natural Resources Minister David Ramsay announced today.

"Woodland caribou that live in the boreal forest are a threatened species in Ontario," said Ramsay. "Protecting and recovering the province's native wild species and habitats is an essential part of conserving our natural heritage and biodiversity. We welcome input from Ontarians on the recovery strategy."

The draft recovery strategy was prepared by a provincial recovery team with input from key stakeholders. Comments received during the next 60 days will be considered by the Woodland Caribou Recovery Team in preparing a final recovery strategy. The final strategy will be used to inform government agencies, stakeholders and the public when making management and planning decisions on activities in the range of the woodland caribou, and will help the Ministry of Natural Resources develop a framework for caribou conservation in Ontario.

While the forest-dwelling woodland caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou), a member of the deer family, was formerly found throughout most of northern Ontario, its range has receded northward. Today, its continuous range generally lies north of latitude 50 degrees north, which runs east and west north of Sioux Lookout, Geraldton and Hearst. To maintain healthy, sustainable populations, forest-dwelling woodland caribou need large areas of older conifer forest and peatlands.

Ontario has been involved in woodland caribou conservation and recovery for many years, including developing forest management guidelines for woodland caribou habitat, ensuring caribou concerns are addressed in forest management plans, establishing significant parks and protected areas with habitat for woodland caribou, and conducting monitoring, research and public education.

Developing recovery strategies for species at risk is just one way the McGuinty government is working to protect Ontario 's natural heritage and biodiversity. Other initiatives include:

  • Launching Ontario's first biodiversity strategy to protect the province's plants and wildlife and the habitats that support them
  • Undertaking a public review to update and strengthen provincial species-at-risk legislation
  • Protecting more than 1.8 million acres of greenspace in the Greenbelt, providing safe habitat for more than 60 species at risk
  • Providing stronger protection for Ontario's provincial parks and conservation reserves through new legislation.

To view the notice, visit www.ene.gov.on.ca/samples/search/Ebrquery_REG.htm and enter Registry Number XB06E6016.