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.”
Not long ago, bowhead whales in the Barents Sea, between the Norwegian and Russian Arctic, were thought to be extinct because of whaling activities. But scientists discovered that a small number of bowheads still live in a biologically rich area known as the marginal ice zone. Despite prices for crude oil dipping into historic lows, this group of critically endangered whales faces a new threat as the Norwegian parliament decides in the coming weeks whether to expand oil drilling into the globally significant marginal ice zone.
Madrid, Spain - The longest UNFCCC COP session ever ended Sunday morning with big emitting countries - like the United States, China, India, Japan, Brazil, Saudi Arabia and others - shirking their responsibility to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as they blocked progress in Madrid.