A message from a Reindeer*



*Or Caribou.

This is the season to connect.

At any other time of year, a Woodland Caribou like me would not want to be called a Reindeer, even if we are pretty much the same species. Unlike my European cousins, Reindeer, we Caribou are big, wild, and have never been domesticated. But around the holidays… well, everyone gets so starry eyed about Reindeer, it’s hard to not get into the spirit.

I live in the Broadback Forest, one of the last large wilderness areas in Quebec’s Boreal. My forest is a thriving system of lakes, rivers and old growth spruce and pine forests. The Broadback covers more than 13,000 km2 (3.2 million acres), and is home to First Nations communities, herds like mine, and numerous other forest-dependent species. It is described as one of the last frontiers of intact Boreal forest in the province.

We might be the coolest animals to live in Canada’s Boreal, but it’s also home for over 300 species of birds, and iconic animals like bears, moose, wolves, lynx, and beavers. Right now there is an informal moratoria on logging in this last intact section of the Broadback, but the only way to permanently protect it is formal conservation.

The Quebec government has set aside two thirds of the Broadback for conservation, but for true biodiversity, and for Woodland Caribou populations to thrive, the rest of the Broadback must be protected. My friends at Canopy are working with the government, local First Nations, and the Canopy network of influential forest customers to help advance a solution similar to the Great Bear Rainforest Agreements, a plan based on collaboration rather than conflict. Full protection of the Broadback would ensure connectivity between local caribou populations – something essential to our long-term survival.

If you are making donations this season, I am asking you to support my pals at Canopy and their work on behalf of the Broadback Forest, and other ancient and endangered forests around the globe. Can you even imagine this time of year without things like evergreen trees and Reindeer? Neither can I!

So this holiday season, while you are mixing and mingling, perhaps you’d like to play a song from the playlist of some of my favourites below. And please member us Reindeer — I mean Caribou — like to mix and mingle too; in fact, our whole future depends on it.