‘The situation is pretty dire’: Canada and Manitoba trying to protect dwindling Boreal caribou population

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The province is working with the federal government to help protect a threatened species.

The two governments said Wednesday the Boreal caribou is seeing its population decline and that all levels of government, along with Indigenous people and other stakeholders need to work together to “ensure the species’ recovery and protection.”

To help with that protection, the Manitoba government, along with federal government, announced a three-year agreement to conserve and recover the caribou’s population.

Environment and Climate Change Canada is providing almost $1 million as part of the agreement and more money could be provided in the future.

“Unfortunately, the populations of caribou across the country have been in decline. So we are taking concerted efforts, with the Manitoba government, to preserve and protect this very important, iconic species that is very much identified with Canada and our wilderness,” said Terry Duguid, the parliamentary secretary to the minister of environment and climate change.

Duguid said the federal government will be working with the province and Indigenous communities to protect the caribou’s habitat as well as their range lands.

“There’s only 1,500 to 3,500 in Manitoba. There use to be thousands and thousands, of course. So the situation is pretty dire for this iconic species, but we hope through this collaboration and this cooperation with the Manitoba (government), that we can bring that population back from the brink,” he said.

He added other agreements are being made with other provinces as well, as the caribou can be found in nine provinces and territories.

Manitoba’s natural resources and northern development minister Greg Nesbitt said the caribou are crucial to the boreal ecosystem.

“This threatened species requires unified efforts to ensure its conservation and long-term existence in Manitoba,” said Nesbitt in a news release. “We are pleased to work in collaboration with the federal government to put forth increased effort in recovery measures to protect boreal caribou. A healthy caribou population is a positive indicator of the health of boreal forests and Manitoba will continue to lead in caribou recovery and conservation across North America.”

The iconic animal has seen its population decline due to increased interaction with predators, which has been created by habitat loss.

The Boreal caribou can also be found on the Canadian quarter.

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