Wildlands League says it gave Ontario a plan to protect boreal caribou habitat — 5 years ago

Environmental group Wildlands League says it came up with a plan five years ago to help protect the woodland caribou in northeastern Ontario.

Tuesday’s federal report condemns provinces for not having strategies to protect caribou habitat

The caribou herd on Michipicoten Island is the only one left in northeastern Ontario and the southernmost in the world. (Christian Schroeder)

Environmental group Wildlands League says it helped come up with a plan five years ago to help protect the boreal caribou in northeastern Ontario.

The group is responding to a new federal report that says the provinces aren't moving fast enough to come up with strategies to protect the woodland caribou habitat.

Wildlands League spokesperson Anna Baggio says the plan involves First Nations, municipalities and forestry company Tembec and was submitted to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry in 2012.

Baggio says they are still waiting to get a green light from the province.

"We've been saying, look, we've given you guys a potential solution here. This is really good. Why don't you work with us and help us make this a reality in northeastern Ontario?"

The Wildlands League is a chapter of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society. It is a not-for-profit charity that has been working in the public interest to protect public lands and resources in Ontario.

Tembec first reached out 10 years ago

Tuesday's report states the caribou's habitat "in the majority of ranges has worsened since 2012."

"They have done a lot of plans on paper but they haven't protected any habitat and they continue to be handing out permits and licenses for development and they haven't been meeting their own requirement of their own endangered species act," said Baggio.

"You know, Tembec reached out to us 10 years ago and said, 'We know caribou is declining, we know it is a threatened species. We know it's a priority for you. It's a priority for us. What can we do together to try and figure this out?" said Baggio.

Caribou are found in the boreal forest that stretches like a ribbon across nine provinces and territories. The majority of their habitat falls on provincial Crown land.

"We think this can be done and we are hoping Ontario sees the light and joins us," Baggio said.

CBC News contacted the Ministry of Natural Resources, but they haven't yet responded. 

Read the Wildlands League's most recent report on the state of boreal caribou habitat here: