Caribou recovery better with First Nations involvement: study

EDMONTON -- If Canada is serious about reconciliation with First Nations, a new study suggests that giving them a greater voice in caribou conservation might be a good place to start.

See Full Article

The Boreal Leadership Council -- made up of First Nations, business leaders and environmental groups -- released a study Thursday that concludes having indigenous people on board makes a big difference to conservation programs.

And, said report author Valerie Courtois, the cultural value of caribou could make the animals a powerful way to bring indigenous and mainstream society together.

"Recognition of the role and responsibility of indigenous people towards caribou is a recognition of culture," said Courtois. "It's a much healthier place to start from in seeking reconciliation than one of non-recognition."

A recent survey of boreal caribou across the country graded efforts to conserve the shrinking herds to be mediocre at best.

While a few provinces have made positive moves, the report from the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society found the amount of protected habitat for the animals increased only one per cent, despite federal requirements.

But Courtois' survey says conservation programs rooted in indigenous communities have big advantages over those that aren't.

Elders or hunters frequently on the land can provide early warnings of changes before they show up in formal surveys. Indigenous-led programs were often more flexible in adjusting to changes, the survey found.

First Nations can also provide extra capacity to provincial environmental agencies that have had budget cuts. And the committment of indigenous people to maintaining caribou -- especially if traditional knowledge is incorporated into recovery plans -- helps ensure best practices.

And First Nations have the benefit of long experience with an animal whose numbers have gone through large swings over the decades.

"Wev'e got people who are present and can notice trends and changes over long periods of time."

Some bands, such as the Athabasca Chipewyan in Alberta or B.C.'s West Moberly, are already playing a significant role in caribou conservation, said Courtois. But most such plans are still run by bureaucrats, she said.

"The norm for recovery planning is that it is led by provincial recovery teams. Many First Nations have had a dissatisfying experience with that process because it's been mostly framed around western science."

Courtois said the type of habitat frequented by woodland caribou is also ground zero for large resource developments. That makes caribou recovery a complicated task -- but it's also where different groups in society can meet to work together.

"Caribou is one of those things that can really show the impacts of leadership," Courtois said. "As we started looking across the country, we started noticing that there's some real innovative stuff coming out of First Nations."



Advertisements

Latest Tech & Science News

  • Google buys big piece of HTC in billion-dollar bet on devices

    Tech & Science CBC News
    Google is biting off a big piece of device manufacturer HTC for $1.1 billion US ($1.4 billion Cdn) to expand its efforts to build phones, speakers and other gadgets equipped with its arsenal of digital services. Source
  • European leaders call on tech firms to pull terrorism postings within hours

    Tech & Science CTV News
    The leaders of Britain, France and Italy want tech companies to aim to remove postings that promote terrorism within just an hour or two after they appear. British Prime Minister Theresa May said Wednesday companies are making progress but need to go "further and faster. Source
  • Mexico earthquake: soft soil makes capital shake like it was 'built on jelly'

    Tech & Science CBC News
    The soft soil that lines the ancient lake bed that Mexico City is built on amplified the shaking from Tuesday's earthquake and increased its destructive force, seismologists say, as they try to better understand the quake that has killed more than 200 people. Source
  • New Apple Watch has cellular connectivity problems

    Tech & Science Toronto Sun
    NEW YORK — Apple confirmed that its new Apple Watch Series 3 can encounter problems connecting to a cellular network. The problems arise when the watch joins unauthenticated Wi-Fi networks without connectivity. This can happen when the watch tries to join a Wi-Fi network the user has previously logged in to using another Apple device, such as an iPhone or a computer. Source
  • Soft soil makes Mexico City shake like it was 'built on jelly' during quake

    Tech & Science CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- The soft soil that lines the ancient lake bed that Mexico City is built on amplified the shaking from Tuesday's earthquake and increased its destructive force, seismologists say as they try to better understand the quake that has killed more than 200 people. Source
  • Southern Quebec visited by 'unprecedented' number of painted lady butterflies

    Tech & Science CTV News
    MONTREAL -- The millions of black-and-orange butterflies that have carpeted flower beds across the Montreal area in recent days are waiting for winds to carry them south to warmer weather, according to an expert at the Montreal Insectarium. Source
  • Scientists want to sail the seas of Titan

    Tech & Science CBC News
    ?Now that the Cassini mission to Saturn has come to an end, scientists are hoping to return, not just to the ringed planet itself, but to its moon Titan. And they want to explore it with balloons, boats and a submarine. Source
  • Huge sea turtles slowly coming back from brink of extinction

    Tech & Science CTV News
    WASHINGTON - A new study shows sea turtles are lumbering back from the brink of extinction. Scientists found more turtle populations are increasing than declining when they looked at nearly 60 regions across the globe. Source
  • Meet the newly discovered hermit crab that carries coral around

    Tech & Science CBC News
    Scientists have discovered a new species of hermit crab off the coast of Japan that roams the ocean floor with coral on its back. While most people think of coral as belonging to permanent reefs such as the Great Barrier Reef in the waters off Australia, there is a type called "walking" coral. Source
  • Scientists edit embryos' genes to study early human development

    Tech & Science CBC News
    The embryo on the left is unedited, whereas the right has been edited to prevent it producing the OCT4 protein. The unedited embryo forms a stable structure called a 'blastocyst' but the edited embryo does not, showing that OCT4 is essential for blastocyst development. Source