VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – You might have seen them in local newspapers – full-page ads with a picture of a caribou.
Conservation group Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative, or Y2Y, says they’re meant to get people in the Lower Mainland to care for the endangered species – at a critical time in their survival.
The ads come a week before the end of the province’s consultation process on two draft agreements to save the mountain caribou.
Scientists estimate the population is down to 1,200. They’re as low as 220 for the central mountain caribou.
The federal government has declared the population ‘at-risk’ which prompted it to craft an agreement with the province to save the southern mountain caribou species and its habitat.
— Renee Bernard (@Renee1130) May 25, 2019
The second agreement has been signed between the province and two northern First Nations, targeting conservation efforts for the central mountain caribou.
Candace Batycki of Y2Y says caribou should be just as meaningful to urban British Columbians as another well-known at-risk animal.
“Most people live on the coast and they’re much more aware of species like southern resident killer whales. But caribou are also a really important endangered species to know about,” she says.
“Wildlife is such an important part of being a British Columbian. We are trying to get people’s attention, and say ‘Hey, you’ll want to know about this. We want to have your voice heard.'”
The consultation process was to have ended last month, but it was extended, after backlash from people in the Peace Country district, who fear the agreements will mean restrictions on industrial and recreational activity in forested areas frequented by the caribou.
That kind of reaction is unwarranted, says Batycki.
“There’s a lot of exaggeration and vitriol about sawmills closing and we’re going to lose hundreds and hundreds of jobs. That’s not based on anything. There’s no data or analysis to support that.”
Feedback on the caribou agreements can be submitted until May 31.