The B.C. government is promising to protect 90 per cent of the winter habitat for the northern Caribou, which are considered threatened under the federal Species at Risk legislation.

Environment Minister Terry Lake says caribou populations are declining, mostly because of wolves and other predators.

Lake says that without action, the number of caribou in the south Peace region could fall from the current 1,100 to 800 over the next 21 years.

The plan includes giving protected status to about 400,000 hectares of high-elevation winter caribou habitat across the area while still allowing some resource development.

The government says that in order to protect the region, some land tenure applications may have to be cancelled and industry may be asked to relinquish other tenures voluntarily.

The government says up to $30 million will be sent over the next 21 years to try to increase the number of caribou in the south Peace, possibly through captive breeding and other programs.