Advocates Draw Attention to BC's Caribou Crisis

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At the recent Vancouver Mural Festival, Wildlife Defence League, Lush Cosmetics and Squamish Nation artist Siobhan Joseph partnered to raise awareness of British Columbia’s endangered caribou and the related wolf cull program.

Through a thought-provoking “Ethics Lounge”, visitors to the Mural Festival were encouraged to explore the complexities of the issue. The lounge featured photos from our research and fieldwork, including images of cut-blocks and active logging in caribou habitat. An interactive display revealed the root cause of caribou decline - as smoke from a smoke machine dissipated, a photo of a single tree left standing in a cut-block emerged. The display symbolized the provincial government’s approach of scapegoating wolves for the decline in caribou through it’s wolf-kill program, while permitting the continued destruction of caribou habitat.

The Ethics Lounge also included a call to action, which asked the public to text “caribou” to 70734, leading them to a letter they can send to the federal Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna. The letter calls for an emergency protection order for caribou under the Federal Species At Risk Act.

For the mural portion of the festival, Lush partnered with Siobhan Joseph, an artist from the Squamish Nation, who painted a mural titled “The Matriarch”, which was inspired by her mother.

“My mom was the matriarch of the family and she had very strong beliefs of protecting our land and our environment,” said Siobhan in a recent interview with the Daily Hive. If you missed this year’s Mural Festival, you can find Siobhan’s mural at the corner of Main Street and East 7th in Vancouver.

TAKE ACTION:

We’re encouraging our supporters to participate in our call to action for caribou by using our email template to send a message to Minister McKenna, calling for the emergency protection order. A provision in the Species At Risk Act compels the Minister to protect critical habitat for endangered species, yet caribou habitat continues to be impacted by industrial and high-impact recreational activity.

In a previous statement, Minister McKenna said actions at the provincial level haven’t done enough to protect and restore habitat and that immediate intervention is needed if endangered herds are to recover. Over a year later, the threats to caribou habitat remain the same.

Two herds have functionally gone extinct in the last year and others are on the brink. Meanwhile, the provincial government hides behind its wolf cull program that has killed over 500 wolves since the cull began in 2015. Join us in calling on Minister McKenna to request the emergency protection order needed to preserve caribou habitat and to end the unethical and misguided wolf cull program.