Caribou a 'barometer' of forest's health - Metro US

Caribou a ‘barometer’ of forest’s health

Once upon a time, Ottawa residents spending time in nearby Algonquin Park may have spotted a woodland caribou.

No more.

The Boreal woodland caribou have lost more than half of their habitat since Europeans arrived in Canada, mostly due to human activities, including agriculture, forestry and road building, said national executive director of Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society Eric Hebert-Daly.

On Earth Day, it’s important to highlight the need to the protect the species, said Hebert-Daly, “especially a species that is less than half what it was when we started.”

CPAWS and its supporters donned homemade caribou antlers downtown yesterday to draw attention to the plight of the caribou.

This event, which was also held in Vancouver and Montreal, is part of a campaign to promote conservation of Woodland caribou and their habitat, the Boreal forest.

Over the last few months, 20,000 Canadians have signed postcards supporting the protection of caribou habitat throughout the Boreal forest, Hebert-Daly said.

“We’re here to celebrate that and make sure that we are able to continue to work with government, communities and First Nations to make caribou habitat a priority.”

CPAWS will be speaking to the parliamentary committee on the Species at Risk Act next week, Hebert-Daly said.

“We want to emphasize the species as a bit of a barometer of the health of our boreal forest. We know that when (the woodland caribou) are in decline, the health of our boreal forest is in decline.”

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