LETTER: BC government is confused about mountain caribou

From Argenta resident Gary Diers

Tragically, in 2018 both the South Purcell and South Selkirk mountain caribou herds were declared functionally extirpated. Next on the chopping block is the critically endangered Central Selkirk herd which ranges in an area between Argenta, Nakusp, Trout Lake, and the Duncan River. These herds are not simply disappearing on their own; our species is destroying their habitat.

With fewer than 30 animals left in the Kootenays one would think this last herd would be carefully looked after. Here on the Argenta-Johnsons Landing Face three animals were identified utilizing this slope last spring and late winter.

Licensee Cooper Creek Cedar is looking after the mountain caribou by logging their habitat. The government seems confused. The mountain caribou are simply not co-operating with their plans. The area being utilized is not located within the very small and high elevation “core caribou habitat” as designated by government.

Why do I think the caribou know better than the bureaucrats where they need to be? And certainly common sense mandates that the precautionary principle be used when a large, iconic mammal of Canada is on the brink of extinction. But no, Cooper Creek Cedar is expected to apply sometime soon for road and cutting permits in the exact area that mountain caribou have been using.

The one hope is that the federal government is insisting that the lackadaisical B.C. government finally make herd plans for mountain caribou recovery. This is just beginning for the Central Selkirk herd. We need a moratorium on logging Cooper Creek Cedar’s CP405 on the Argenta-Johnsons Landing Face until a proper herd plan is established for these caribou. The government needs to hear from us.

Gary Diers

Argenta

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