Feds fund Dene Nation caribou conservation efforts

Caribou
Barren-ground caribou have been in serious decline in the NWT since the 1980s. (Supplied by ENR.)
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The Dene Nation and the federal government are joining forces to help preserve caribou populations as part of the Western Boreal initiative.

The feds are spending over a million dollars in two years to help fund the project.

The money will go toward supporting Dene Nation efforts to incorporate Inidgenous traditional knowledge into conservation efforts for caribou.

“We, the Dene, have thousands of years of knowledge and experience of living with caribou, Boreal, Mountain, and Barren-ground,” Dene National Chief Norman Yakeleya said in a statement.

“Our caribou knowledge has been passed down through the generations by our Elders and harvesters and this interaction with Todzi (boreal caribou) is a significant part of our culture.”

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Caribou populations have faced a challenging year.

Minister for Environment and Natural Resources Shane Thompson said in March the GNWT was investigating the illegal harvest of over 50 caribou during the winter. He added that the number had skyrocketed from less than 10 instances in March 2020.

Thompson added the GNWT was stepping up enforcement efforts and is currently working on its revised caribou management plan.

Indigenous traditional knowledge is being incorporated into conservation efforts elsewhere in the territory.
This is the first Species at Risk assessment done since the Species at Risk Committee established a new framework for making decisions which put greater emphasis on traditional knowledge.

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