The province’s plan for recovery of woodland caribou is coming under more criticism. A recent paper by two wildlife experts calls the proposal to fence in 100 square kilometres of the Little Smoky range an “ineffective conservation option.”
Director of science for Alpha Wildlife Research Gilbert Proulx and Ryan Brook with the University of Saskatchewan argue that fencing off the animals and killing their predators won’t cause their numbers to go up or stop their loss of habitat. They also say the enclosure will lead to weaker calves, and doesn’t address the permanent future of the species.
“The proposed plan does not include a long-term comprehensive habitat conservation program that will protect and interconnect muskegs that are used by caribou, and restore muskegs that are no longer used by caribou,” concludes the paper.
Alberta has been ordered by the federal government to manage 65 per cent of critical caribou habitat by this October. There have been population declines of up to 60 or 80 per cent in some parts of the province.