Beginning at 7:00 am, activists dressed in black attire have started the ongoing action this morning. Depicting a caribou cemetery, one gigantic tombstone (measuring 7 feet high x 4 feet wide) with antlers and 51 life-sized tombstones are outside Catherine McKenna’s office. The gigantic tombstone reads: “Caribou: one hoof in the grave”. The other 51 tombstones each have a stencil of a caribou and the name of the herd as well as the province in which they roam.

“Today, we’re asking Minister McKenna to stop the expansion of industry inside critical caribou habitat. This means reaching agreements with Indigenous, provincial and territorial governments on long-term conservation but it’s time to stop the delays. Canada’s iconic woodland caribou must urgently be protected in a manner that respects the rights and knowledge of Indigenous Peoples,” says Olivier Kolmel, Forest campaigner at Greenpeace Canada.

Last week, the Federal Environment Commissioner concluded that Environment and Climate Change Canada has not provided  “effective national leadership and coordination of actions” required to meet a key international target to conserve Canada’s biodiversity. In the Commissioner’s report, she cited boreal woodland caribou in particular as a species which has suffered “many delays” in protections under SARA.

“Woodland caribou have roamed Canada’s Boreal forests for thousands of years, but their numbers have declined by 30 percent in the past two decades alone. The last white male rhino in Africa was devastating news across the world, let’s hope Canada’s woodland caribou never face that same terrible fate. Caribou are in grave danger and we need immediate action from Minister McKenna to prevent their disappearance,” added Olivier Kolmel.

Greenpeace has launched a petition urging Catherine McKenna to take her commitments seriously to protect the woodland boreal caribou.

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Notes to editors:

The woodland caribou has been on the Species at Risk list for over 15 years. According to the 2017 report of the Social Progress Institute, prepared by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard Business School, Canada ranks 88th in the world in terms of habitat protection on its territory.

Better protecting this nationally threatened species would help Canada meet its international commitments under the Convention on Biological Diversity to protect 17 percent of its lands and inland waters by 2020. Taking these steps in equal partnership with Indigenous Peoples also offers an important opportunity to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Photos will shortly be added here: https://media.greenpeace.org/shoot/27MZIFJXA8FD0

The federal report can be found here:  http://www.sararegistry.gc.ca/document/default_e.cfm?documentID=3316

Marie Moucarry, Communications Officer, Greenpeace Canada, 438-993-6127, marie.moucarry@greenpeace.org