Species At Risk

Woodland Caribou Conservation Plan

Supporting Conservation and Recovery

Woodland Caribou

Caribou – the animal you see on the Canadian quarter – were once widespread across northern Ontario. But the woodland caribou that live in the province’s northern forests have declined dramatically in the last century.

Ontario’s Caribou Conservation Plan (pdf) is a blueprint to bring back healthy, self-sustaining populations of these famous animals.

The plan, released in 2009, identifies actions and initiatives the ministry is taking to conserve and recover woodland caribou populations in a healthy boreal forest. Its goals are to:

  • maintain self-sustaining, genetically-connected local populations of woodland caribou where they currently exist
  • improve security and connections among isolated mainland local populations
  • facilitate the return of caribou to strategic areas near their where they currently exist

Read an outline of the plan’s key elements

Read about the progress we’ve already made in our 2012 Progress Report (pdf)

Read about the latest caribou research

Taking Steps to Protect the Woodland Caribou

Like other Threatened and Endangered species, caribou received new protection under an updated Endangered Species Act in 2008. As for other species, the updated act triggered a series of steps to determine how best to protect these animals and their habitat, and to recover populations.

The Caribou Conservation Plan (pdf) is the government response statement that is required under the act.

Implementing the Caribou Conservation Plan involves a variety of conservation actions to:

  • improve our understanding of caribou through science and research
  • ensure that areas where caribou occur are managed through an ecosystem-based range management approach
  • improve planning and resource management approaches to help maintain and recover caribou on the landscape
  • support stewardship activities that increase awareness and conservation practices for caribou
  • integrate Aboriginal traditional knowledge by developing partnerships with Aboriginal peoples to increase mutual knowledge and understanding of caribou

Read the full Caribou Conservation Plan

Ontario's Woodland Caribou Conservation Plan

Reports that Helped Us Build the Caribou Conservation Plan

If you’d like to understand how the ministry reached the milestone of releasing the Caribou Conservation Plan, you might be interested in these documents:

Keeping Caribou in Ontario

Keeping Caribou in Ontario (pdf), a 2008 discussion paper designed to help the public, stakeholders and Aboriginal Peoples provide input into the development of the draft Caribou Conservation Plan

Report of the Ontario Woodland Caribou Science Review Panel: The Path Forward (pdf), a 2008 report from an independent panel established by the ministry.

More Caribou Resources


Photo Journals

Caribou Photo Journals
Tag along as we learn more about some of Ontario’s most vulnerable species and their habitats.

Caribou Fact Sheet

Woodland Caribou Fact Sheet
Learn about the Caribou's habitat, threats and status in Ontario.

In the Field

In the Field
Follow our researchers and the caribou they study.