“Honest efforts” being made to protect mountain caribou

In response to the article,“Wells Gray Park caribou declining”, published in our Jan. 25, 2013, issue.

In response to the article,“Wells Gray Park caribou declining”, published in our Jan. 25, 2013, issue.

To the editor;

Every day, provincial government biologists, working side by side with First Nations, industry, environmental organizations, snowmobile clubs and other stakeholders engage in a number of interconnected strategies to help recover endangered mountain caribou herds.  This collaborative effort makes the errors and omissions in the Valhalla Wilderness Watch’s Jan. 25 guest editorial that much more disappointing.

Predator control efforts currently centre on liberalized hunting and trapping seasons, pilot project for wolf sterilization and managing other prey, such as moose, to reduce wolves in critical areas.

Other concrete actions to date are the very things being called for.

Province-wide, since the inception of the Mountain Caribou Recovery Implementation Plan in 2007, the government has prohibited road building and logging in roughly 2.2 million hectares of identified mountain caribou habitat, restricted forestry, cat-skiing and mineral exploration in key areas, and closed more than one million hectares of identified mountain caribou habitat to recreational snowmobilers.

We have established over 280,000 hectares of protected Ungulate Winter Range in the vicinity of Wells Gray Park.  Most are closed to logging and road building, although some may have a partial cut management regime provided caribou needs are taken into consideration.

Instead of criticizing and misrepresenting honest efforts to save endangered mountain caribou, I would suggest the Valhalla Wilderness Watch become part of the solution.

Steve Thomson

 

Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations