Quebec to allow caribou herd to die off

Pheroze

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Quebec government to let threatened woodland caribou herd die off
https://www.theglobeandmail.com/new...oodland-caribou-herd-die-off/article38260314/

Quebec's decision to let threatened woodland caribou herd die off sparks backlash

Quebec's decision to allow a small herd of caribou to die off because it would be too expensive to save them amounts to an abandonment of its responsibility to protect wildlife, environmental activists said Friday.

The criticism came a day after Forests and Wildlife Minister Luc Blanchette announced it would be too costly to try to save the Val-d'Or caribou herd, whose habitat in northwestern Quebec has been decimated by logging and human activity.

In a video capsule published on his Facebook page, Blanchette estimated it would cost $76 million over 50 years to try to save the herd, which numbered only 18 animals when it was last counted in 2016.


"These necessary investments are too large (when measured against) the probability of success which turns out to be very weak," he said in the video.

"The situation is sad, but we have to be reasonable. We believe it is better to put our efforts on the other 7,000 caribou of Quebec, where we still have good chances of success."


Blanchette said the government would still take measures to prevent the herd's further decline, including blocking some roads and declaring a moratorium on logging in their habitat for the 2018-2019 season.

But an environmental activist who has fought to save the caribou said the government's decision is tantamount to placing the interests of logging companies above those of wildlife.

"There has never been a will on the part of the government, and especially on the part of Mr. Blanchette, who understands absolutely nothing about the issue and who is playing exactly into the game of the logging companies," said Henri Jacob of Action Boreale.

In a phone interview, Jacob said the government has a responsibility to try to repair the damage it caused over the last 30 years when it allowed loggers, hunters and outdoor enthusiasts to overrun the forest.

He thinks the herd deserves a chance, even as he acknowledges it may be too late.


"We can't honestly say (conservation efforts) would guarantee (the herd) could be saved," he said. "But what is guaranteed is that if we do nothing, they will disappear in the next 10 years."

Greenpeace Canada also accused the government of mismanagement, and suggested Quebec's other remaining caribou herds could meet a similar demise.

"This is what happens when the government does not seriously take the conservation recommendations from scientists or First Nations," said Olivier Kolmel, head of the organization's forestry campaign.

"One wonders if other caribou in Quebec, like those in the Broadback Valley, will suffer the same fate."

In April 2017, Blanchette drew widespread criticism after he announced the Val-d'Or herd would be transferred to a wildlife zoo in Saint-Felicien, Que.

Six weeks later, the zoo's board finally decided to refuse the transfer "in the face of social acceptability issues."


Premier Philippe Couillard reminded reporters of that plan while on an official visit to France on Friday, pointing out the community had rejected the government's proposal to save the herd.

"We continue to have a plan for the woodland caribou in the longer term, always keeping in mind....that forestry jobs are also important," Couillard said at a news conference in Paris.


 
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Powdermaker

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"The situation is sad, but we have to be reasonable. We believe it is better to put our efforts on the other 7,000 caribou of Quebec, where we still have good chances of success."
Seems like a reasonable approach. Perhaps if GreenPeace is so upset they will put up the $76 million needed to save this population?
Caribou populations are in trouble all across the North. A complicated issue to be sure.
 

CAustin

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It sure I understand why they are going to die off. Sounds like no logging for a year for now could help. Is there something I am missing?
 

johnnyblues

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Too little too late I believe. Where was the conservative efforts years prior befit reached critical mass?
 

sierraone

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The herd has only 18 animals and the cost is too great is what the article said. They will concentrate their efforts and money on other herds with up to 7000 animals.
 

Bullthrower338

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Green peace should file an injunction on the wolves! Stopping logging and shutting down access to the Forrest is always their answer! Why don’t these people ever put their money where there mouth is? Because they are to busy spending it on “operating costs” there is not much money to Be dolled out to the animals after the parties and other needless spending.
 

Pheroze

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I know this has to be multifaceted, but I can't help thinking it is a missed opportunity. The only value was in the timber, not the wildlife?
 
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IdaRam

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I have a suspicion there is more to the story. Logging, hunters and outdoor enthusiasts over running the forest doesn’t quite pass the sniff test as wholly to blame.

But an environmental activist who has fought to save the caribou said the government's decision is tantamount to placing the interests of logging companies above those of wildlife.
In a phone interview, Jacob said the government has a responsibility to try to repair the damage it caused over the last 30 years when it allowed loggers, hunters and outdoor enthusiasts to overrun the forest.


We have a similar situation in the northern most portion of the Idaho Panhandle. A small and dwindling herd of woodland caribou. It is down to a dozen animals or so as near as anyone can tell. Twenty years ago I believe the herd was estimated at about 40 animals.
I have personally spoken to individuals in Idaho Fish and Game about these caribou. Their opinion is that they are a lost cause. Twelve animals, or even 50 animals is not enough to sustain the population. Their ultimate demise is inevitable, yet we have spent millions of dollars prolonging the inevitable.
Hundreds of square miles of country known as the Selkirk Crest have been closed off to motor vehicles and logging in the name of protecting caribou and grizzly bear going back almost thirty years. I am not necessarily opposed to limiting the motor vehicle access in this area. That is not the issue. Woodland Caribou are struggling most everywhere they exist. Blaming logging and hunters is just business as usual for these groups. I would like to know the rest of the story. I’m not buying at face value logging and hunters are the root cause and wholly to blame for the demise of this group of caribou.
 

Pheroze

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Woodland Caribou are struggling most everywhere they exist.

That's very sad news. I really would like to know more about this problem. As with anything it is probably a bunch of factors.

I’m not buying at face value logging and hunters are the root cause and wholly to blame for the demise of this group of caribou.

I agree. There is a very good article in the most recent Canadian Geographic about the Yukon wolves. Bottom line is that properly manged hunting has created a balance for people, wolves and moose. It was refreshing to read a recognition of that!
 

cmnhunt

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Was the Quebec government allotting 1-10 hunting permits a year for this herd? Probably not. Doubt it was the hunters fault then. I love how the article blamed the government for not listening to the scientists. I guess now is the time to test and see if they evolve into a new species.
 

cmnhunt

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I have a suspicion there is more to the story. Logging, hunters and outdoor enthusiasts over running the forest doesn’t quite pass the sniff test as wholly to blame.

But an environmental activist who has fought to save the caribou said the government's decision is tantamount to placing the interests of logging companies above those of wildlife.
In a phone interview, Jacob said the government has a responsibility to try to repair the damage it caused over the last 30 years when it allowed loggers, hunters and outdoor enthusiasts to overrun the forest.


We have a similar situation in the northern most portion of the Idaho Panhandle. A small and dwindling herd of woodland caribou. It is down to a dozen animals or so as near as anyone can tell. Twenty years ago I believe the herd was estimated at about 40 animals.
I have personally spoken to individuals in Idaho Fish and Game about these caribou. Their opinion is that they are a lost cause. Twelve animals, or even 50 animals is not enough to sustain the population. Their ultimate demise is inevitable, yet we have spent millions of dollars prolonging the inevitable.
Hundreds of square miles of country known as the Selkirk Crest have been closed off to motor vehicles and logging in the name of protecting caribou and grizzly bear going back almost thirty years. I am not necessarily opposed to limiting the motor vehicle access in this area. That is not the issue. Woodland Caribou are struggling most everywhere they exist. Blaming logging and hunters is just business as usual for these groups. I would like to know the rest of the story. I’m not buying at face value logging and hunters are the root cause and wholly to blame for the demise of this group of caribou.
Kind of like white conservative heterosexual males in California. A dying breed and lost cause anymore.
 

IA Monsterbuck

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I hunted Caribou in Quebec in 2008. It was beautiful country and a fantastic adventure. My first hunt outside the US. It really is sad to hear how much the Caribou population has declined in Quebec in the decade since I hunted there. I hope that the government there can figure things out and reverse the losses.
 

enysse

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There has been a some climate changes....I know everyone hates that word but it has effected that species of caribou a lot.
 

Philip Glass

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Fishy story to me. The most likely cause of decline is predation. Unless they were allowing cows to be harvested hunters are not to blame. Unless the logging was complete clear cutting for hundreds of miles logging is unlikely to be at fault. I mean if there are too few trees the Caribou won’t breed? I understand they have a habitat they prefer. From a Sheep ranchers perspective calves being eaten by wolves sure seems the likely culprit!
 

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I'll take them and introduce them into our Woodland herd in Alberta.
Anyone want to provide funding for the relocation?
 

Pheroze

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I'll take them and introduce them into our Woodland herd in Alberta.
Anyone want to provide funding for the relocation?
Would there be any genetic reason not to do that? Otherwise, it would seem to be a smart idea to help with existing gene pools
 

BRICKBURN

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Can’t see any reason why not
 

Dragan N.

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Fishy story to me. The most likely cause of decline is predation. Unless they were allowing cows to be harvested hunters are not to blame. Unless the logging was complete clear cutting for hundreds of miles logging is unlikely to be at fault. I mean if there are too few trees the Caribou won’t breed? I understand they have a habitat they prefer. From a Sheep ranchers perspective calves being eaten by wolves sure seems the likely culprit!

A problem that might exist is an unregulated or poorly regulated native subsistence hunting. Depending on the province, territory, and region, in some parts of Canada, Natives are allowed to harvest certain animal species for subsistence and thus are not subject to quotas, tags etc... Essentially they maybe allowed to harvest however many or few animals they see fit. The total harvest in that area might be determined by the local's needs as opposed to a certain number laid out by a management study etc... Also since the animals taken by the natives are primarily killed for food a decent percentage of that harvest is probably cows.

But I don't think a human overharvest, wolf predation, or logging or another single cause alone is to blame. Its probably a convergence of many causes that have created a "perfect storm" for decimating caribou numbers.
 

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