Caribou population declines in Canada warrant at-risk status

31 October 2017

Arctic Climate Change Canada Reindeer & Caribou Wildlife

An Arctic migratory caribou herd in Canada (Dolphin and Union) is among the species assessed as at risk by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife (COSEWIC) today. While these assessments are meant to be the first step in a federal process for the protection and recovery of these species, the process is hindered by missed legal deadlines, under-resourcing and failure to act on some of the committee’s assessments.

Paul Crowley, VP of Arctic conservation at WWF-Canada, says:

“The reassessment of the Dolphin and Union caribou herd from Special Concern to Endangered is a call to action for Canada. The main threats to this declining herd are human disturbances – primarily ice-breaking through their migratory corridor in the Northwest Passage, and climate change, which alters the reliability of their migratory route and their ability to access food. Badly timed ice-breaking, in particular, will destroy critical caribou habitat. Unless it’s an emergency, we simply can’t have icebreakers going through the migratory routes these endangered caribou rely on.”