Ontario Investing in Conservation Projects to Protect Caribou

In Provincial

Province accepting applications for initiatives designed to maintain and recover their populations

The Ontario government is now accepting applications for the 2024-2025 Caribou Conservation Stewardship Program. This year’s program will provide up to $8 million to fund conservation initiatives such as habitat restoration and protection, monitoring, science and research.

“I am pleased to announce that after successfully supporting 19 projects, we are once again inviting non-profit organizations, Indigenous communities and other groups to bring forward proposals to continue supporting caribou conservation efforts,” said Andrea Khanjin, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks. “These grants support projects that help improve conditions for Boreal Caribou – work that is critical to achieving Ontario’s goals for recovering and protecting this iconic species.”

Examples of activities eligible for funding include:

  • Restoring the habitat of Boreal Caribou which has been disturbed in the past by forest fires and other threats
  • Researching and monitoring Boreal Caribou to better understand where and when they move on the landscape, and what aspects of habitat are important to their survival
  • Gathering, sharing, and incorporating local and Indigenous traditional knowledge in caribou conservation

Ontario has committed nearly $35 million over five years to caribou conservation and recovery, which is the largest investment dedicated to caribou in the province’s history.

Local projects that have multi-year funding under Caribou Conservation Stewardship Program (CCSP) include a project led by the Friends of Wabakimi (FOW). With a grant of over $300,000, FOW is working with local volunteer scientists to conduct canoe and aerial surveys to monitor habitat such as lakes, islands, sandy beaches, peninsulas, wetlands and shorelines for signs of caribou presence and activity, and to identify calving areas. The field research and data gathered will be made publicly available to support caribou conservation decision-making. FOW is working with local Indigenous community members to incorporate Traditional Ecological Knowledge as part of this work.

“Ontario’s Caribou Conservation Stewardship Program funding has made it possible for teams of volunteer community scientists recruited and trained by our organization to look for evidence of caribou calving in the Wabakimi Area north of Thunder Bay,” said Vern Fish, President of Friends of Wabakimi. “The data gathered will be used by scientists and resource managers to shape future caribou conservation strategies.”

The application period for the stewardship program will run until July 24, 2024, with successful projects selected in the fall.

This program is one way the Ontario government is implementing the Agreement for the Conservation of Caribou, Boreal Population in Ontario, a five-year conservation agreement with the Government of Canada which provides an overall framework for establishing collaborative commitments, including habitat management, protection and restoration activities by the federal and provincial governments to protect and recover caribou. In the first two years of implementation, Ontario has made progress on all 13 conservation measures of the Agreement. Ontario continues to implement its caribou policy framework while recognizing that caribou conservation and recovery is a long-term and continuous effort.

Quick Facts

  • Caribou (boreal population) is a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act, 2007 (ESA) in Ontario. It is estimated there are roughly 5,000 Boreal Caribou in Ontario.
  • Last winter, Ontario conducted aerial surveys to document observations of caribou in key ranges. A report summarizing these findings is now available.

Pete Fisher
Author: Pete Fisher

Has been a photojournalist for over 30-years and have been honoured to win numerous awards for photography and writing over the years. Best selling author for the book Highway of Heroes - True Patriot Love

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