Ottawa announces caribou rehabilitation program in Jasper National Park
Jasper National Park is home to only four caribou herds.
The federal government on Monday announced a woodland caribou ranching program aimed at restoring the species to Jasper National Park, Alberta. where herds are endangered while others have already disappeared forever, says Parks Canada.
Parks Canada explains that the population of woodland caribou, also called southern mountain caribou, has become so low that it will not be able to recover on its own without outside intervention.
The program announced will consist of constructing a breeding facility in Jasper National Park, sourcing breeding females and males from other populations, and developing detailed operational plans to ensure the health and well-being of the animals. animals.
The baby caribou from the breeding center will then be released into the wild, in places where the population of the species needs to be refloated.
We really hope to start construction of the breeding facility this spring. It will be a two-year process. We therefore hope to welcome our first caribou in early 2025, says Jean-François Bisaillon, program director at Parks Canada.
He said Parks Canada has worked with many experts over the past few years to find ways to restore the declining caribou herds in Jasper National Park. And we have determined, through this collaborative work, that conservation breeding is the only tool available to Parks Canada and Jasper National Park to achieve this end.
The woodland caribou has been listed as threatened for 20 years in Canada. Jasper National Park is now home to only four herds, each with a small population.
It's a tragic step, says Carolyn Campbell, director of the Alberta Wilderness Association. She adds that it is however necessary, even if the situation should never have come to this.
According to her, this situation is the result of poor management, which Parks Canada has been trying to correct since the early 2000s, in particular through measures consisting in reducing human pressure on caribou habitat and protecting it. predators such as wolves, grizzlies or even cougars.
The implementation of the program requires the signing of collaboration agreements with Aboriginal partners, in addition to government collaboration provincial, underlines Steven Guilbeault, the federal Minister of the Environment and Climate Change.
According to Randy Boissonnault, Minister of Tourism and Member of Parliament for Edmonton Centre, investing in caribou protection is essential to preserving the ecological integrity of Jasper National Park.
Minister Steven Guilbeault, who is also responsible for Parks Canada, adds that the caribou is an emblematic animal for Canadians and that as such, its preservation contributes in some way to safeguarding a “common cultural and natural heritage” for Canadians.
“Every child in Canada can recognize a caribou by the iconic image engraved on our 25-cent coins”, he points out.
Ottawa budgeted more than $24 million in its 2021 budget to fund caribou conservation initiatives in Jasper National Park, the largest national park in the United States. Canadian Rockies.