The Grand Council of the Crees

Crees Raise Concern over Endangered Woodland Caribou

Posted: 2009-03-27

Earlier today the Ministry of Natural Resources and Wildlife announced that they have updated their list of Threatened or Vulnerable Species with several new additions. Although the Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee) is favourable to these new additions, it must point out that without the long awaited corresponding Recovery Plans, there will be little progress on protecting these species. The Crees are highlighting this concern because the Ministry of Natural Resources and Wildlife (MNRW) is in the process to approve a series of new roads and forestry operations in critical habitat of vulnerable Woodland Caribou.

It has been four years since the MNRW placed Woodland Caribou on Quebec's Threatened or Vulnerable Species List and there is still no Recovery Plan in place. Without a Recovery Plan, no steps can be taken to protect the Woodland Caribou or their habitat.

Reflecting on this situation, Bill Namagoose, Executive Director of the Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee) commented: "What is the point in designating Woodland Caribou as a vulnerable Species if you then grant logging companies open access to the last remaining pockets of habitat? We cannot help but think that the MNRW is dragging its feet on the Caribou Recovery Plan in order to allow the forestry companies to build hundreds of kilometers roads in critical Caribou habitat before any protection can be granted."

The conservation community is unanimous that the best way to protect Woodland Caribou is by preserving large tracks of undisturbed forests and yet the Government is rushing to open these areas up to logging. The Crees have insisted that any new roads in these areas will be subject to public scrutiny through the environmental