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Caribou of the Gaspé Peninsula (Endangered Species)
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Caribou of the Gaspé Peninsula (Endangered Species)

The caribou of the Gaspé Peninsula live high up on the Chic-Chocs and McGerrigle Mountain Range, in the Gaspé Peninsula Provincial Park.  There was a time when these caribous roamed across all of Eastern Canada in great numbers.  In the 15th century, the native people hunted them sparingly, for their meat and their skins. 

The native people treat these majestic animals with the utmost respect.  Without caribou, people would not survive in the North.  They only hunt them when their survival depends on it. 

Theyuse every part of the caribou: meat, skin, bones, antlers, fat and pelts. The native people were never a threat to the survival of the caribou.  But disaster struck in the 19th century, when the Europeans came looking for furs and arrived with their firearms.  
Up until 1929, man wreaked havoc on the population.  By 1940,
The caribou of the Gaspé Peninsula were down to a mere 1,500 individuals.  Yet despite the ban on hunting them, they continued to decline. 


In 1984, the caribou of the Gaspé Peninsula were put on the list of threatened species in Québec.  Today, they are fewer than 200 individuals.  That’s unbelievable!  And to think they once ranged throughout Québec, the Maritime Provinces and New England!

Today, they are threatened by coyotes and black bears.  The challenge facing the young caribous is to be offered the chance to grow up … not end up as a meal for some predator.

The continuous logging has deprived them of their staple food … the lichens they feed on only grow on trees that are over ninety years old … the very same trees the logging industry has set its sights on.
The ban on caribou hunting, the control of predators, habitat protection and environmentally sustainable logging, have helped to stem the decline in the caribou population. These measures and practices have allowed the caribou of the Gaspé Peninsula, rated as a ‘Threatened Species’ in 1984,  to attain the status of ‘Species at risk’ since 2001.

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