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‘Elevated risk’ for caribou in Western Canada

09/07/2012
English: Caribou, Reindeer in Alaska

English: Caribou (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There is an “elevated risk” that threatened populations of boreal caribou in Western Canada will disappear before oilsands developers have the chance to restore old growth forests being disturbed for industrial expansion.

It could take nearly half a century before industry stakeholders restore critical habitat needed to ensure the survival of the caribou.

“All Alberta local populations of boreal caribou are at an elevated risk of extirpation, particularly the seven local populations in the oilsands area.”

Apart from new oil and gas activities, including conventional oil development and shale gas exploration, the boreal caribou populations could also be threatened by forestry and mining activity.

Habitat destruction leads to increased populations of moose and deer which in turn increases predator populations, mainly wolves, and eventually leads to increased predation of boreal caribou and decline in the size of local populations.”

“The life history of boreal caribou is different from that of other more northern caribou which form large migratory populations as a means to avoid predation. Rather, boreal caribou depend on large areas of undisturbed old growth forest habitat within which they distribute themselves widely to avoid predation.”

The temporary solution emerging in the region has involved the slaughter of wolves in Alberta to prevent the predators from killing the caribou.
»‘Elevated risk’ of caribou disappearing from oilsands region, memo tells Peter Kent

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