From: Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS)
Published October 4, 2004 11:51 AM

New Report Marks Launch of Campaign to Protect Woodland Caribou

A new report by the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) concludes that woodland caribou, a key indicator of a healthy boreal forest, require immediate protection if they are to survive. The report reviews the status of woodland caribou across Canada, and describes a new campaign to protect critical wild areas and to change industrial activities where woodland caribou live.

Among the report’s key findings: Of five major woodland caribou populations in Canada, one is endangered, two are threatened and one is of special concern. And a review of recent trends indicates that if steps are not taken now to protect many of the large intact regions where woodland caribou still roam, the species could disappear from much of its range this century.

Canada is one of only three countries in the world, along with Russia and the United States (Alaska), where the woodland caribou are still found. According to the report, the rapid northward advancement of industrial development is changing our forests and making them unsuitable for woodland caribou.

The report and campaign were developed because of growing awareness and concern among scientists and conservationists that woodland caribou are disappearing from our northern forests and we are not doing much about it. The recent federal designation of Woodland Caribou as “threatened” within the boreal forest region demonstrates that this trend in Canada-wide in scope.

“There is an urgent need for action across Canada’s boreal forest,” says Tim Gray, Director of Boreal Programs for CPAWS. “In every province and territory our staff and volunteers are working on this campaign, with the target of establishing new protected areas over the next 10 years that will ensure the survival of this iconic species. “

There is strong reason to believe the new campaign can be successful. CPAWS, along with leading industry, First Nations and other conservation groups, has worked with the Canadian Boreal Initiative to develop the Boreal Forest Conservation Framework. If it is fully implemented, the Framework would greatly expand permanent protection from industrial uses to cover at least 50% of the boreal forest and see the rest managed in a manner that ensured the sustainability of wildlife populations while also allowing resource extraction. CPAWS is committed to working with other groups to implement the Framework in order to ensure the survival of woodland caribou, among other species.

For more information please refer to the text of the woodland caribou report (available here: for details of CPAWS’ planned conservation actions. For more information concerning CPAWS regional contacts and the Boreal Forest Conservation Framework please visit

The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) is Canada's voice for wilderness. We focus on establishing interconnected networks of parks and wilderness areas, making sure that nature comes first in their management. With our 20,000 members and 13 chapters across the country, our work is delivered ‘on the ground,’ by professional staff who deliver practical tools to protect wild places. Since 1963, we have helped protect over 40 million hectares of Canada’s most treasured wild places. Find out more about our Boreal Forest Conservation program visit our website at ###################

For more information please contact:
Tim Gray, Director, Boreal Programs
Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS)
Telephone: (416) 971 9453 ext. 32
Telephone: (416) 986 2408 (cell)

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