Mr. Speaker, over the past two decades, caribou herds in the North have declined and are at or near historic low numbers. There are many factors contributing to this decline. Some, like climate change, are known; others we urgently need to understand better.
As Northerners, knowing what we can do to help the recovery of caribou in the North is important. ENR Regional and Headquarters staff, co-management partners and traditional user groups offer caribou education every year.
This November, Regional ENR staff is making a special, coordinated effort to provide caribou education throughout the NWT.
ENR presented a caribou education workshop to regional staff and will be offering a similar opportunity to co-management partners in November. Materials will be made available to hunters, NWT residents and educators seeking classroom resources about caribou.
These efforts will enhance ongoing caribou education.
Throughout November, ENR will engage hunters on caribou conservation; including Sight-In-Your-Rifle events, encouraging harvesting bulls to reduce effects on reproduction and providing information regarding ongoing research projects. Information will also be presented to school age children, in the hopes they will share important facts about wildlife with their parents.
In the Sahtù Region, Sight-In-Your-Rifle and caribou sex identification workshops are being offered in nearly every community.
In the North Slave Region, a Renewable Resource Officer will be talking to students about the need to conserve caribou for the future, and the importance of harvesting only bulls. The students will make signs and post them on hunting trails, so keep an eye out for these messages.
In the Dehcho Region, Sight-In-Your-Rifle training is planned for Fort Simpson and Wrigley. November classroom visits are planned for Fort Simpson schools as well as for smaller communities.
In addition, Mr. Speaker, ENR will continue to work with communities to assess and promote alternative traditional foods such as moose, muskox, and fish to minimize harvest pressure on caribou.
Mr. Speaker, ENR is committed to working with NWT residents to conserve caribou for future generations. These efforts, along with those of our co-management partners and other organizations, will help northerners play a part in the recovery of this important species. Together, we can work towards conserving this precious resource for generations to come.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.