Caribou critical habitat on the chopping block

Caribou critical habitat on the chopping block

Central Selkirk caribou need your help

Hi Paov,

I just returned from the central Kootenays, at the confluence of lands of the Secwépemc, Ktunaxa, Sinixt and Syilx Nations, where my allies and I have been investigating logging activities in caribou habitat. We found three proposed critical habitat cutblocks about to be auctioned off by the BC government’s own logging agency — BC Timber Sales.

The cutblocks are located around Lake Creek in the habitat of the Central Selkirk herd — the southernmost mountain caribou herd left in the world. Its neighbouring herds to the south are locally extinct, and this herd is next in line. Caribou have been found less than 1.5 km away from the proposed cutblocks, in matrix critical habitat — which is needed to ensure a natural predator-prey balance.

This herd will not survive unless the BC government takes drastic action to protect habitat.

Demand government cancels the auction Near Lake Creek dense green forests thin into high elevation meadows in the mountainous habitat home to the Central Selkirk herd. Mountain alpine areas are incredibly important habitat features because they’re normally inaccessible to predators, making them safe places for caribou to have their young. But that’s only if their matrix habitat remains intact.

Logging in matrix habitat causes devastating results. Shrubs and leafy vegetation grow on logging roads and cutblocks, attracting prey species like moose and deer who love to feed on this new vegetation. Wolves follow, increasing predator presence in caribou habitat, leading to more predation of caribou. Habitat destruction leading to higher predation is the ultimate cause of decline — without habitat protection caribou won’t recover in the long-term. Tell BCTS to cancel the auction The federal species at risk recovery strategy states that in this area 65% of matrix habitat must be intact in order to maintain natural predator-prey dynamics, but only 11% is protected. It’s no wonder the herd is down to only 27 individuals.

The government must cancel the auction of these cutblocks now. It prioritized this herd for recovery and is even in the process of creating a herd plan to support them. Critical habitat destruction must be halted while planning is underway.

You’ve halted habitat destruction before in Argonaut Creek. You can do it again! Caribou are counting on each of us to speak up for them and demand government action.

For the wild,
Charlotte Dawe
Conservation and Policy Campaigner
Wilderness Committee r0.

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