The Quebec government plans to kill wolves this winter and proceed with the dismantling of logging roads to protect Val-d’Or’s caribou. However, the Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs (MFFP) rejects the idea of full protection of the territory. The strategy chosen is not well received by biologists and activists.
Radio-Canada has learned that the Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs rejects the idea of creating a new protected area on the Val-d’Or caribou territory, in addition to the current one. “It is not being considered because the territory is heavily used, particularly for vacationing, hunting and fishing, as well as for certain industrial activities,” the MFFP media relations team said by e-mail.
Instead, the chosen approach aims “to adapt forest management to reduce the rate of disturbances, including the dismantling of roads.” The MFFP will also proceed with the felling of about ten wolves this winter, which are believed to be responsible for the death of some caribou. Because of the logging roads, wolves can more easily move around the territory and attack their prey.
Chances of success?
According to the biologist at the Université du Québec à Rimouski, Martin-Hugues St-Laurent, known for his knowledge of caribou issues, the government’s strategy is “going nowhere.” According to him, the chances of success are conditional to the application of a series of measures, including the control of predators, the enclosure of females, the closing of roads and the end of logging. “You can’t pick and choose one part of the recipe, you have to have the whole recipe,” he says.
“If you just tackle predator control, if you close roads, but don’t stop forest management, you’re not protecting the forest. So we’re not going anywhere.”