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People and the Deer: Humans and Caribou in a Changing World
Drs. Justina Ray and James Schaefer retell the story of caribou on CBC Radio
Caribou is a species without equal. A cherished national symbol, caribou is also the most mobile land animal in the world, a creature pivotal to human survival, and now, the most formidable conservation challenge in Canada.
The story of caribou will retold next Tuesday on CBC Radio. WCS Canada President and Senior Scientist Justina Ray and Trent professor James Schaefer have co-produced, have co-produced a 1-hour program for CBC Ideas with host Paul Kennedy. With other top caribou experts, they reveal how the caribou narrative is fundamentally about people.
The program explores our shared past – the personal encounters with caribou, the deep cultural connections with caribou, and the struggles for survival. And it will provide a glimpse of our shared future – the immense obstacles and the narrowing opportunities for keeping caribou on the northern barrens and in the boreal forest, some of the last great wilderness on earth. This tale is compelling and timely.
Dr. Justina Ray is President and Senior Scientist of Wildlife Conservation Society Canada and Dr. James Schaefer is Professor of Biology and Director of the Environmental & Life Sciences Graduate Program at Trent University.
Ideas airs Tuesday, October 25 at 9 PM on CBC Radio One.
Laws devoted to the protection and recovery of species at risk are meant to provide added protection measures after regular management approaches have been insufficient to stave off extinction risk. Once a species is “listed” by government as at risk of extinction, it becomes eligible for additional protection measures, particularly those related to safeguarding affected habitats. Depending on how complex the threats are, the set of actions required to reverse or mitigate impacts can be multifaceted and challenging to implement. WCS Canada scientists, who have considerable field and policy experience with a number of Canadian species, have contributed comments on species at risk recovery strategies that were put out for public review in the last several months.
The 16th North American Caribou Workshop was held in May in Thunder Bay - the first time in 20 years it was hosted in Ontario. This year’s workshop theme is Connections: exploring the link between people, disciplines and ecosystems to further caribou conservation and management. More than 250 people from science, academia, indigenous communities, NGOs, government, and practitioners – drawn by their common interest in caribou – will assemble to share their knowledge, ideas, stories, and most recent discoveries. This conference will provide a discussion forum to confront these challenges and fill gaps in knowledge and understanding of this fascinating animal.
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