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Restricted access in the reserve Chic-Chocs wildlife

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The Ministry of the Environment is asking for help from land users to reduce sources of disturbance to caribou as much as possible. (Archive photo)

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Sectors of the Chic-Chocs wildlife reserve, in Gaspésie, are closed to protect mountain caribou, an endangered species.

In a press release published Friday, the Ministry of the Environment, the Fight against Climate Change, Wildlife and Parks (MELCCFP) reported recent observations of mountain caribou in the Champ-Monts sectors. de-Mars, Blanche-Lamontagne, Hog's Back as well as summits 2 to 7 of Mont Vallières-de-Saint-Réal in the Chic-Chocs wildlife reserve.

The Société des establishments de plein air du Québec (SÉPAQ) has closed access to the Champs-de-Mars and Blanche-Lamontagne trails in the Chic-Chocs wildlife reserve. Restrictions are also in effect for the Vallières-de-Saint-Réal trail, where only summit no. 1 is accessible to snowshoers and Nordic and high-road skiers.

Enclosed areas are popular with outdoor enthusiasts. Despite these closures, the Gaspésie national park and the Chic-Chocs wildlife reserve say they offer a multitude of options and alternatives to allow visitors to have an unforgettable experience.

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Ecologists and experts agree: decisive actions are necessary to prevent the disappearance of mountain caribou from the Gaspé. (Archive photo)

The Ministry of the Environment is asking for help from land users to avoid travel in these sectors in order to reduce the sources of disturbance to caribou as much as possible.

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The ministry says disturbance includes intentionally approaching, following, chasing or allowing unsupervised domestic animals to approach caribou.

The disturbance of caribou compromises their physical conditions by imposing on them an increased energy expenditure during this winter period when they must spare their efforts, particularly the calves. The disturbance associated with human presence can harm the survival of caribou by forcing them to go to areas where conditions are less favorable for them, it is specified in the press release.

Human presence can cause caribou to move more frequently and reduce their travel time ;food due to greater vigilance imposed.

A quote from the Ministry of the Environment, the Fight against Climate Change, Wildlife and Parks

The number and condition of mountain caribou are in significant decline in Gaspésie. The Quebec government continues to postpone the submission of a plan to protect the species under pressure, particularly from the forestry industry.

Ottawa threatened to force Quebec to act in the matter, but in August, the federal government announced that it was no longer imposing a deadline for the submission of a protection plan after historic wildfires this summer.

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