Here in British Columbia on World Caribou Day we are thankful that our forests and mountains are still home to the Woodland subspecies of caribou, including Boreal, Northern and Southern mountain caribou.
For those living in the regions where caribou roam, these creatures are a lens into the health and connectivity of the overall ecosystem. They are both an umbrella species (their health indicates the health of the ecosystem as a whole) and indicator species (easily impacted by changes to their habitat). Caribou are also considered a cultural keystone species due to their immense importance to Indigenous peoples across Canada. This video by Chu Cho Environmental illustrates the deep cultural relationship between the Tsay Keh Dene people and Wedzih, the caribou:
All caribou in British Columbia are under threat of population declines from habitat loss and the altering and fragmentation of habitat. For many subpopulations habitat degradation has already taken a toll on individual herds as First Nations, environmental non-profits, teams from the Province of British Columbia and Government of Canada, and some industry partners work together to help restore or maintain populations that are threatened or endangered.
Arguably the most important part of recovering caribou populations is habitat protection and restoration. The Caribou Habitat Restoration Fund (CHRF) is proud to support the continued restoration of roads, seismic lines and other linear disturbances to help limit human and predator access into habitat of threatened herds. Click here to learn more about the projects we’re funding this year and here to subscribe to our newsletter (select “Caribou Habitat Restoration Fund grants”) for more information.