Home: Bearing Witness

Deep-Snow Mountain Caribou

Photo by Steve Forrest


This website has five objectives::

– to bear witness to the deliberate, planned extinction of Deep Snow Mountain Caribou by the BC government
– to bring clarity to an issue that has for too long been intentionally obfuscated by government advisors
– to sketch out an ecology of hope for the future of Canada’s icon of Mountain Wilderness
– to encourage meaningful engagement by young Canadians
– to act as resource for deeper study by concerned citizens of any age or stripe.

Its first objective is to bear witness to designer extinction in Canada – to document the government-imposed structure of the extinctionary process playing out in one of the world’s largest, wealthiest countries, with nearly a quarter of the world’s remaining forested wilderness.

Deep-Snow Mountain Caribou are endemic to south-central British Columbia. At latest count, five of the 18 herds that existed in 2005 have been lost, while five of the remaining herds will likely soon follow. This decline is not accidental but, as this website shows, is the long-foreseen outcome of a modern-day “gold rush” that targets the oldgrowth inland rainforests of inland BC [Coxson et al. 2020] – forests these caribou need for survival.

These pages document the decline of the Deep-Snow Mountain Caribou in general, but with special emphasis on the “Wells Gray South” herd of southern Wells Gray Provincial Park – one of only two herds whose ranges broadly overlap with a protected area. The fact that even this herd has declined by 60% since 1995 raises two important questions:

  • (1) If caribou can’t persist even in a large protected area like Wells Gray Park, then why not?
  • (2) If caribou can’t persist even in a large protected area like Wells Gray Park, then where?

The second objective of this website is to provide answers to these two questions.

The third objective is to describe what if anything can still be done to build some kind of future for the uniquely Canadian Deep-Snow Mountain Caribou. As will be seen, it is here that this website’s focus on the Wells Gray South herd comes into play; for herds that broadly overlap with large protected areas must henceforth be cornerstone to any viable recovery plan.

The fourth objective is to shine a light on the actions and inactions of individuals in positions of authority at every level of government, industry and professional reliance – the people most directly responsible for driving a charismatic, quintessentially Canadian ungulate to the brink. Our elected leaders aside, what’s important about these individuals is not their names, it’s what they do. Greta Thunberg has shown us how to work for positive change. The individuals named here have unfortunately shown us the opposite.

Deliberate extinction is no small crime. Indeed, it stands in approximately the same relation to the well-being of the living world as genocide stands in relation to the well being of modern civilization. The sooner we see that, the sooner we remember that human decency really matters, the sooner we can begin to push hard against the lidless horror of an ever-darkening future. We can’t all be Greta Thunberg, but we can all try a little harder.

Finally, this website’s fifth objective is to provide a one-stop resource for concerned citizens wishing, for reasons of their own, to examine the structure of our shared neoliberal worldview through the exceptionally teachable lens of one of its innumerable appalling outcomes – in this case the loss of an iconic animal. In Canada of all places. This is what the refs are for.