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Quebec and Ottawa resume discussions on caribou protection

Quebec and Ottawa resume discussions on caribou protection

The Federal Ministry of Environment confirms the holding of a meeting between the deputy ministers responsible for the file on Wednesday. Quebec was to undertake to respond quickly to the last letter sent by Stephen Gilbeault to Quebec’s Minister in charge of Wildlife, Pierre Dufour.

Mr Guilbeault had given Quebec an ultimatum at the start of the month, which was supposed to present him with the Caribou Habitat Protection Plan by April 20. Legault’s government twice delayed the implementation of a new protection strategy.

We are convinced that the Quebec government has decided to return to the negotiating tableComment in writing in Secretary Gilbolt’s office.

Therefore, the door remains open for negotiation, assuring the Minister: We are ready to be there as a partner. We are willing to invest very large sums to do this.

Stephen Gilbolt, Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Photo: The Canadian Press/Chad Hipolito

If Ottawa considers that the county plan is not sufficient to protect the Caribou’s habitat, Secretary Guilbeault will resume his efforts to file an order in Council.

Meanwhile, disagreement continues over which level of government has jurisdiction. Prime Minister François Legault continues to insist that Quebec is fully responsible for the file, even adding that Ottawa Looks like he’s looking for the statesduring a press conference on Thursday.

Stephen Gilbolt, believes that the Federal Species at Risk Act clearly states that this is a condominium.

This is not an issue of regional or federal jurisdiction, but a question of having a science-based approach to our common goal of protecting this emblematic species. »

Quote from Statement from Stephen Gilbolt’s government

Prime Minister Legault says there has to be a balance [entre la protection du caribou et l’industrie forestière, NDLR]comments by Mr. Guilbeault. I totally agree with that, but the situation is more and more precarious, and the species is more and more threatened. We are not in equilibrium.

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The Association of Biologists of Quebec (ABQ), which has more than 1,000 members, believes that the province has all the tools and legislation needed to protect the species. It calls for an end to logging in forests and mountain caribou habitat areas, as well as all activities that may disturb them.

It also calls for the creation of protected areas and a review of Quebec’s forest management to improve biodiversity conservation.

Delays in Gaspésie

Mountain caribou on Mount Albert, in Gaspeze National Park.

Mountain caribou on Mount Albert, in Gaspeze National Park

Photo: Radio Canada/William Bastille Dennis

In Gaspésie, capturing the animals has been postponed until next winter. In Chic-Chocs, there were two harbors, the construction of which is still in progress, to accommodate pregnant females and their flowers in order to protect them from predators during the critical months between childbearing and feeding the young.

Females were supposed to be captured and put into a pen before 15 April so that the conditions would be ideal for deer gestation, but to no avail.

The department explains that a combination of factors, including weather conditions and snow accumulation, left the team of biologists and wildlife technicians with little time to organize the capturing of pregnant ibex.

The team, which has been mobilized for only two days, from March 23 to March 25, will be mobilized for a longer period next year, as determined by the Director General of the Wildlife Department, Karl Patenaud-Levasseur.

Next year, he explains, the process can begin earlier, when the snow cover is favorable for capturing females and pregnant females can be identified. We won’t be able to start in January, but early in the season, so we have a bigger window to make interventionsHe says.

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In Gaspé, the enclosure is also accompanied by other measures such as control of predators, closure of forest roads or paths intended for recreational tourism activities.

The Gaspésie herd has a population of about 35 head of caribou.

Herds in barns in Val d’Or and Charlevoix

Fence and geotextile wall were erected to contain the caribou in the enclosure.

In the Parc des Grands-Jardins, the Wildlife Department had a 20-hectare container built to house a few survivors of the isolated Charlevoix herd.

Photo: Radio Canada

In Val d’Or as in Charlevoix, construction of the Caribou facilities and facilities is 95% complete, the Ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parks (MFFP) said Thursday morning.

In both areas, animals now live in new shelters of about twenty hectares each. The seven Val-d’Or caribou were already in captivity. The enclosures have been developed so that the ibex maintains a feral behavior and does not recognize human presence.

In Charlevoix, 16 animals – three males, nine females and four elk – were captured and taken to the enclosure. The ministry estimates that it could be the entire herd, but it cannot confirm this.

The Ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parks It has no plan to release the caribou in Val d’Or and Charlevoix. The Director-General of the Wildlife Service, Carl Patenaude-Levaseur, specifies that no indication has been made of the amount of land required or the number of individuals for potential release.

Captive flocks can grow. The department will soon know the reproductive potential of the residents of Charlevoix and Val d’Or.

The population may be growing faster than we think. For now, we’re leaving, looking forward to the years to come. We do not have a breeding strategysays department biologist Carolyn Haines.

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However, the findings of the Independent Forest Lands Commission and Mount Caribou will guide decisions regarding the future of the caribou in the annexes.