Woodland Caribou Sacrificed as Government Forces Companies to Log Pine Forests

Alberta Wilderness Association

News Release: December 7, 2006

The Deputy Minister of Alberta Sustainable Resource Development (SRD) has confirmed that the Alberta Government is directing forestry companies to commence liquidation of pine forest in critical habitat of mountain woodland caribou as part of its war on mountain pine beetle (MPB). AWA is opposed to clear-cut logging and industrial activity in critical woodland caribou habitat. AWA believes the government's actions contradict a key recommendation of the West Central team, charged with implementing caribou recovery in the area.

"The government is definitely doing more to combat mountain pine beetle. Unfortunately when it comes to efforts to recover woodland caribou, it's more talk than action; more destruction of caribou habitat; and more of what has already failed," says Cliff Wallis, Alberta Caribou Committee (ACC) member and AWA director. "The government has made its choice: caribou is the loser."

The Government is targeting the north Narraway River region of West Central Alberta, vital habitat for the endangered woodland caribou, and is likely drastically lowering the embattled ungulate's survival chances. Woodland caribou is an endangered species.

"The pine liquidation as stated in the SRD directive ultimately will result in an age-class distribution that will not be compatible with maintenance of current caribou herds," says Dr. Luigi Morgantini, a Weyerhaeuser wildlife biologist and ACC member.

"SRD is forcing forestry companies like Weyerhaeuser to log in critical caribou habitat confirming the government is continuing with caribou recovery strategies that have failed to work for the past 14 years," adds Wallis. "The likelihood of this strategy working to halt MPB spread will surely fail, and they are prepared to take down woodland caribou in the process."


Cliff Wallis, AWA Board of Directors: 403-607-1970; or 403-271-1408
David Samson, AWA Conservation Specialist: 403-283-2025