The last 33 caribou: fighting for the survival of a Wet’suwet’en herd

By Matt Simmons
The Narwhal
May 17, 2023
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

There’s a serene pocket of mountainous habitat in northwest B.C. where 33 caribou live. Though it’s peaceful, they have nowhere to go. They’re surrounded. They’ve been cut off from where they gave birth to their young and the tracts of land that supported them through the long northern winters by highways, hydroelectric dams, rail lines, clearcuts and farmland. The herd’s range has been fragmented for more than a century and faces imminent threats. …The Telkwa caribou are considered threatened federally and blue-listed provincially, which means a species of special concern. But the herd’s population has been plummeting since colonization and its numbers dropped to single digits in the 1990s. According to the province, the downward trend over the decades puts the herd at “continual risk of extirpation.” Because conservation status is not applied to individual herds, the imminent threat to widzïh doesn’t trigger protections afforded to endangered species.

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