Report: Parks Can Do More to Help Wildlife

OTTAWA, July 9 (UPI) — More parks connected to protected areas will help ensure Canada’s woodland caribou, eastern wolf and other at-risk species will survive, a report indicated.

The third annual review by the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society concluded Canada’s parks system currently offer a mishmash of protection levels for endangered wildlife, the conservancy organization said Friday.

“There are quite a few (species) that in fact rely very heavily on parks as their main habitat,” said Eric Hebert-Daly, the organization’s executive director, told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. “Having really big parks, to keep large habitat intact, having them connected to other protected areas is quite essential.”

The report praised the government efforts to develop more parks and noted the establishment of a protective zone around Ontario’s Algonquin Park and connecting parks in the Rocky Mountains have positively affected species such as the eastern wolf and grizzly bear.

However, some species, such as woodland caribou, are still struggling, the organization said, usually at the hands of man, Hebert-Daly said. Five-hundred species in Canada are at risk of extinction and more at-risk species are identified every year, he said.

“In Canada we have one of the best opportunities left in the world to create big parks that can protect species that need large areas of wilderness to survive — before those species get in trouble,” Hebert-Daly said

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