CP – Caribou hunting quotas make scapegoats out of northern First Nations: study…argues caribou decline result of impacts from mineral exploration.
By Bob Weber.
…”The scapegoat is the Indigenous person who depends on caribou for subsistence,” says the paper’s author Brenda Parlee, a biologist at the University of Alberta.
“It’s easier to point the finger at somebody with a gun than it is to look at the more complicated problem of habitat disturbance.” … “There’s been a lot of conjecture about how people must be over-hunting, but the data shows the absolute opposite,” says Parlee.
“The amount of caribou being harvested today is a fraction of what it would have been 20, 30 years ago. “We’re distracting people from what is a more central or problematic issue.”
That issue, Parlee says, is habitat disturbance, mostly from mineral exploration. She and her co-authors found spikes in mineral staking in the 1990s and 2000s corresponded with falling caribou numbers. Noise, dust, roads and seismic lines from exploration camps all linger and add up, she says. “You have a very fragmented landscape as a result of exploration.
Elders say it can be over 100 years before caribou habitat recovers.” Instead of restricting a vital food that lies at the heart of Dene culture, the territory should focus on land-use planning to protect caribou ranges, Parlee suggests.
ScienceMag.Org – Report: Undermining subsistence: Barren-ground caribou in a “tragedy of open access:” Brenda L. Parlee, John Sandlos, David C. Natcher