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HomeTechnology & ScienceQuebec, federal government 'confident' about protecting province's endangered caribou

Quebec, federal government ‘confident’ about protecting province’s endangered caribou


The Quebec and Canadian governments say they’re now on the same page about the province’s caribou population, while offering little in the way of specifics.

In a statement released Monday, officials from both levels of government said “that they are confident of reaching an agreement aimed at maintaining, protecting and restoring woodland caribou on Quebec territory.”

The caribou have been recognized as a vulnerable species in Quebec since 2005. 

According to most recent figures, 5,252 woodland or mountain caribou are left in the province. Only seven remain in Val-d’Or, and herds in Charlevoix and Gaspé are on the verge of extinction. 

The two levels of government have butted heads over the caribou in the past, with the Canadian government accusing Quebec of not doing enough to protect the species.

Federal Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault had previously threatened to impose measures under the Species at Risk Act, a provision has never been used before in Canada. 

It would have seen the federal government taking over about 35,000 square kilometres, or 2.3 per cent of Quebec’s entire territory, to protect the species.

Quebec Premier François Legault has said that Quebec should keep its exclusive provincial jurisdiction over the management of woodland caribou.

According to the release, Quebec will be moving forward with protecting some habitats for the caribou, as Canada had suggested, “with the financial support of the federal government.”

But some are criticizing the news as being big on promises and light on details. The Society for Nature and Parks (SNAP Quebec) was critical of what it called the “so-called significant progress” announced Monday.

“We salute the willingness of the two governments working together to find solutions to a complex conservation issue,” the group said in a statement released Monday. “However, there is no concrete progress in what is announced today.”

Quebec said it will be investing $12 million in short-term measures to protect the caribou, in addition to another $6 million offered by the government.

The province also plans to release a caribou conservation strategy, to be made public in June of next year.


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