Ontario Partnering with First Nation Community to Protect Caribou in the North
Funding to help revive iconic caribou species in Lake Superior Region
THUNDER BAY — The Ontario government has finalized an agreement with Biigtigong Nishnaabeg First Nation to help revive caribou in the North. This investment of nearly $1 million will support a multi-year initiative to recover the local boreal caribou population, as well as restore an important cultural, historical and ecological feature to Biigtigong Nishnaabeg.
“This agreement is a significant milestone in our province’s commitment to protect and recover boreal caribou, which we know is a long-term and continuous effort,” said Andrea Khanjin, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks. “I am proud to be working with Biigtigong Nishnaabeg to help recover a species that is integral not only to the health of Ontario’s boreal forests, but also to the well-being of a community.”
As part of this project, Biigtigong Nishnaabeg will work in collaboration with environmental and wildlife experts, the federal government, First Nations and private sector partners to establish a self-sustaining population of boreal caribou along the northeastern shores of Lake Superior.
This project is funded by the Caribou Conservation Stewardship Program, a $20-million program designed to support projects that maintain and recover caribou populations in the province. The program supports the work of non-profit organizations, Indigenous communities and other groups involved in caribou conservation activities such as on-the-ground habitat restoration and protection, monitoring, science and research.
This agreement with Biigtigong Nishnaabeg First Nation is the latest step in Ontario’s ongoing work to implement the Agreement for the Conservation of Caribou, Boreal Population in Ontario, a five-year conservation agreement with the Government of Canada which provides an overall framework for establishing collaborative commitments, including habitat management, protection and restoration activities from both the federal and provincial governments to protect and recover caribou.
In March 2023, the province announced a total of $29 million over four years in funding towards caribou, representing the largest single investment dedicated to caribou in Ontario’s history.
Biigtigong Nishnaabeg is an Anishnaabe community located in the Lake Superior Region.
Caribou (boreal population) is a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act, 2007 (ESA) in Ontario. It is estimated there are roughly 5,000 boreal caribou in Ontario.
In 2022, Ontario established the Boreal Caribou Conservation Agreement Working Group to support the government in understanding the biological, social, cultural, and economic factors involved in boreal caribou conservation. The group meets regularly and has representatives from conservation groups, the mining and forestry sectors and municipalities.