Alberta has announced new provincial policies aimed at achieving a self-sustaining population of woodland caribou.
In recent years, predator-prey relationships have altered, leading to a decline in caribou numbers. To sustain and recover woodland caribou, the province will encourage all stakeholders to maintain and restore caribou habitat, and carefully manage populations of alternate prey species and predators.
This year, the province allocated $2 million in new funding to woodland caribou recovery. As well, the draft Lower Athabasca Regional Plan and early planning for the Lower Peace region has identified four million hectares of new conservation areas. Proposed conservation zones are grouped to create a large contiguous area for wildlife habitat, which contributes to some caribou ranges.
The Woodland Caribou Policy focuses on range-specific implementation actions. Government will work with industry, communities and First Nations to provide clearly defined and active roles. Implementation plans will be supported by funding and efforts shared between industry and government.
“Partnerships and shared responsibility are essential and are built into the policy,” said Mel Knight, Alberta’s minister of sustainable resource development. “Active caribou stewardship is part of the price of development.”