Collaborating for caribou

The Caribou of the Detour Population

The Détour / Kesagami caribou population frequents an immense section of boreal forest on both sides of the border in northern Quebec and Ontario. An unusual collaborative project has been set up to ensure the sustainability of this population.

Why protect the caribou?

The woodland caribou is an animal that travels hundreds, even thousands, of kilometres across its boreal forest habitat. This iconic species requires mature and undisturbed forests to complete all stages of its life cycle and avoid predators as nature intended. Thus, the woodland caribou is a true indicator of forest health.

Since 2013, CPAWS Quebec has been working with the forestry company GreenFirst (formerly Tembec), the Abitibiwinni First Nation and the Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs to protect this caribou population and maintain the quality of its habitat on the Quebec side. The targeted area is north of the town of La Sarre, in Abitibi-Témiscamingue. 

Key information

The Detour/Kesagami caribou population lives in an area the size of New Brunswick (~65,000 km2).

The Detour caribou population is estimated to be
between 300 and 600 individuals

The caribou habitat management plan was validated and implemented in 2015, but continues to be enhanced regularly

CPAWS Quebec's work

Since the area north of La Sarre is subject to logging, CPAWS Quebec and its partners have designed a habitat management and protection plan for the woodland caribou that ensures that caribou-related sites of interest are protected, large forests are maintained, and connectivity between these forests is preserved. The team is also working on other issues affecting caribou, such as forest roads, mining, consultation with Ontario stakeholders and protected areas.

The caribou habitat management plan is based on the best available scientific data and draws on traditional Indigenous knowledge. This plan also helps maintain FSC® certification, which aims to ensure responsible forest management via rigorous standards and an independent auditing system.

This project is financially supported by Environment and Climate Change Canada.

CPAWS Quebec also works to protect other woodland caribou populations in Quebec, especially through the Pipmuakan project, its presence on the Équipe de rétablissement du caribou forestier au Québec and the Table des partenaires sur le caribou, and through publishing reports or taking a stand in the public sphere.

© Jean-Simon Bégin


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