Wunnumin, Webeque, Kingfisher and Nibinamik First Nations Critical Habitat Study for Woodland Caribou and Wolverine
WCS Canada is working with four Ontario First Nations (Wunnumin, Webequie, Kingfisher And Nibinamik) to document local traditional knowledge (indigenous knowledge) on woodland caribou and wolverine, and to combine this knowledge with science-based aerial surveys.
The goal of this study will be to derive information on the distribution, critical habitat and seasonal use patterns of these two species-at-risk within a combined 2 million-ha traditional use area. This study is aimed at gathering and integrating information through traditional knowledge and aerial surveys and to digitally map this information.
All four First Nations are in the process of land and resource planning initiatives and this information will be invaluable as they move forward with economic development initiatives. Advance knowledge of critical habitat will allow for better planning to protect these two species at risk from such developments. Due to the general lack of wildlife survey attention in the province north of the managed forest boundary, the collection of this information will be imperative to have as a baseline against which to monitor future distribution and abundance changes.
In addition, this project will have a capacity-building component. There are abundant capacity development issues related to marrying traditional with western science knowledge, understanding survey methodology and mapping values in a manner that is relevant to habitat planning for species at risk. This exercise is aimed at mitigating these issues and training First Nation community members to undertake science-based interviews and surveys.