Government of Canada releases report on national efforts toward Boreal Caribou recovery

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May 10, 2024 – Ottawa, Ontario - The Boreal Caribou is an iconic Canadian species at the heart of boreal forest biodiversity and with cultural importance to Indigenous peoples and other Canadians.

However, their population has been declining over the past decades, primarily threatened by habitat loss and degradation. The Government of Canada is committed to conserving wildlife habitat and protecting species at risk like Boreal Caribou.

Today, the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, released the Report on the Progress of the Recovery Strategy Implementation (Period 2017–2022) and the Action Plan Implementation (Period 2018–2023) for Caribou (Rangifer tarandus), Boreal Population, in Canada.

The Report highlights federal, provincial, and territorial progress over the last five years in implementing the federal Recovery Strategy and Action Plan for the species. It includes assessments of population and habitat conditions and summarizes key recovery measures taken nationally, as well as in each province and territory. Overall, the report shows that some progress has been made in key areas, but much remains to be done to achieve the goals set out in the Boreal Caribou Recovery Strategy.

Over 95 percent of Boreal Caribou habitat is under provincial and territorial jurisdiction. Provinces and territories have the primary responsibility for management of land, natural resources, and wildlife where Boreal Caribou live.

Canada has signed nine conservation agreements for Boreal Caribou with provinces, territories, and Indigenous peoples since 2018 and is continuing to work toward the completion of new and renewed conservation agreements. Under these agreements, signatories are committing to taking conservation actions such as range planning, investing resources and funding, and engaging Indigenous peoples and other partners in the recovery of the species.

Other actions taken by the federal government to support the protection and recovery of Boreal Caribou include putting in place an order to protect the species’ critical habitat on federally administered land. The federal government also collaborated with many Indigenous communities and stakeholders to establish the National Boreal Caribou Knowledge Consortium, the Indigenous Knowledge Circle, and multiple sub-groups to facilitate knowledge generation and sharing and increase collaboration between partners.

The Government of Canada will continue to negotiate conservation agreements or similar agreements that commit provinces and territories to taking strong and swift action to manage, protect, and restore Boreal Caribou habitat.


“Conservation and recovery of Boreal Caribou at this scale is not a simple task, but it is our collective responsibility. This requires commitment, collaboration, and meaningful actions such as adequate land-use planning. We will continue to work with provinces, territories, Indigenous peoples and all other relevant parties to develop more robust, long-term conservation agreements and focus our efforts on protection and recovery of Boreal Caribou and its habitat, the boreal forest.”
– The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Quick facts

  • This is the second report published by the Government of Canada on the progress made for the implementation of the Recovery Strategy (published in 2012 and amended in 2020). The first report on the Recovery Strategy was released in 2017.

  • Since 2017, over 10,030,000 hectares (100,300 km2) of new protected and conserved areas have been established within Boreal Caribou distribution. This is approximately twice the size of Nova Scotia.

  • Sixteen Boreal Caribou local populations showed increasing or stable population trends over the short term (five years or less), in some cases as a result of intensive predator management actions. Ten other local populations declined over the reporting period, and trend estimates for the remaining 25 local populations were not available.

  • Based on 2020 data, 21 of the total 51 Boreal Caribou ranges meet or exceed the minimum threshold of 65 percent of undisturbed habitat. This minimum threshold is a key component of the species’ critical habitat and important for supporting self-sustaining local populations.

  • Between 2018 and 2023, the federal government committed $117.5 million in support of projects related to Boreal Caribou habitat protection and restoration, population management, Indigenous engagement and capacity building, monitoring, and research. Partners committed an additional $209 million in matching funds to these projects.