Government of Canada invests $3.8 million to support barren-ground caribou conservation in the Northwest Territories

News release

December 2, 2022 – Gatineau, Quebec

Caribou is an iconic species for Canadians and plays an important role in the culture and history of Indigenous peoples. The Government of Canada is determined to halt and reverse Canada’s biodiversity loss, and the decline of this species, by working in collaboration with the provincial and territorial governments, Indigenous peoples, and other stakeholders.

Today, the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, announced that the Government of Canada will support the Government of Northwest Territories’ actions to conserve barren-ground caribou by investing $3.8 million in three conservation projects. The Government of Northwest Territories will provide an equal investment of $3.8 million.

These projects will monitor barren-ground caribou, their habitats, and threats that may be affecting herds in the Northwest Territories by using Indigenous and Western science and knowledge. Projects also aim to conserve and protect barren-ground caribou populations and their habitats by working to minimize human and predator impacts, and identifying important barren-ground caribou habitats such as calving grounds and migratory routes for conservation. These actions have been identified as priorities in the 2020 Recovery Strategy for barren-ground caribou in the Northwest Territories.

The funding is part of the Enhanced Nature Legacy initiative that enables significant, targeted investments and partnerships to drive protection and recovery for a large number of species throughout the country and respond to threats to Canada’s ecosystem and wildlife.

In December, Canada will welcome the world to Montréal for the 15th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (COP15). This is an important opportunity for Canada to show its leadership, along with international partners, in taking actions to conserve nature and halt biological diversity loss around the world.


“The Government of Canada is committed to working to halt and reverse nature loss by 2030 in Canada. The only way we can achieve this goal is by working in collaboration and with everyone's commitment. Taking actions to protect barren-ground caribou means supporting several other species that share the same habitats. These actions are for biodiversity, to protect our identity and health, and to support Indigenous culture and way of life. These projects demonstrate the Northwest Territories’ will to protect barren-ground caribou, and we are proud to support them.”

– The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change

“Barren-ground caribou play a critical role in the social and cultural well-being of communities across the Northwest Territories. The Government of Northwest Territories has been working closely with co-management partners in the Government of Northwest Territories to take coordinated and comprehensive actions to help support conservation and recovery of all our herds. This investment will help us bring Indigenous knowledge and science together to inform the wise management of barren-ground caribou to ensure they remain for future generations.”   

– The Honourable Shane Thompson, Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, Government of the Northwest Territories

“Better research and understanding of caribou populations, their movements, and the land upon which they thrive is the key to the survival of this iconic species for many generations to come.”

– Michael McLeod, Member of Parliament for Northwest Territories

Quick facts

  • Barren-ground caribou are one of five different types of caribou in the Northwest Territories.

  • Barren-ground caribou populations have been declining for several years. The current population of barren-ground Caribou is estimated at about 800,000 individuals.

  • A number of threats are thought to be causing the decline of barren-ground caribou, including climate change, industrial activities, and harvest.

  • The Government of Northwest Territories has listed barren-ground caribou as threatened under their species at risk legislation. The territory and its co-management partners have management plans, which provide direction for the management of barren-ground caribou herds.

  • The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada assessed barren-ground caribou as Threatened in November 2016.

Associated links


Kaitlin Power
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Media Relations
Environment and Climate Change Canada
819-938-3338 or 1-844-836-7799 (toll-free)

Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Twitter page

Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Facebook page

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