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Natural Resources
Environment and Conservation
February 21, 2010

Newfoundland and Labrador Government Calls on Quebec Innu
to Respect Conservation Principles

The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador today called upon the Quebec Innu to put conservation first and withdraw from a closed hunting zone of Labrador that is home to the threatened Red Wine caribou herd. Information collected by the Department of Natural Resources indicates that approximately 100-150 Innu hunters from Quebec are camped in an area populated by the George River caribou herd, but also closed to hunting because it is the core range of the threatened Red Wine Caribou herd.

"We ask the Quebec Innu leadership to put conservation practices first and instead of risking killing the last of the Red Wine caribou to make a political point, accept our offer to sit down and work through these conservation issues as leaders do," said the Honourable Felix Collins, Minister of Justice and Attorney General. "It will be truly devastating if this action by the Quebec Innu wipes out this protected woodland herd, but those most negatively impacted by this blatant disregard for conservation principles will be future generations, for whom the Red Wine caribou will exist as nothing more than a picture in a history book."

The protected Red Wine caribou herd is intermingled with the George River animals, which is why this area is closed to hunting. Animals from the two herds are not visually distinct and therefore any hunting in this area is a direct threat to the remaining Red Wine caribou. Conservation officers with the Department of Natural Resources confirmed today that some animals have been killed, however, it is not possible to determine at this time if the animals are George River caribou or the protected Red Wine caribou.

The Provincial Government has made two written requests to Chief Georges-Ernest Gregoire of the Uashat Mak Mani-Utenam so far this year to come to the table and open a dialogue on conservation rather than take to the land and hunt an endangered herd. Government officials also attempted to outline to a group of Quebec Innu hunters on Saturday the caribou management zones that are open to legal hunting and populated with caribou. Quebec Innu have indicated that their presence is to protest the initialing this week of the formal documents for the New Dawn Agreement reached between the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador and the Labrador Innu Nation.

"Killing the last of the Red Wine caribou herd is not the way to go to raise issues of concern," said Minister Collins. "I once again call upon the Quebec Innu leadership to work with us in a collaborative fashion for the conservation of this herd."

Conservation officers with the Department of Natural Resources are monitoring the activity of the Quebec Innu, given their stated intentions, and are patrolling for any illegal hunting in the closed zones through regular and aerial patrols. Evidence will be collected and charges laid, where warranted and when safe to do so, in the event of illegal activities.


Media contacts:

Tracy Barron
Director of Communications
Department of Natural Resources
709-729-5282, 690-8241


Ken Morrissey
Director of Communications
Department of Justice
709-729-6985, 685-6612


Melony O'Neill
Director of Communications
Department of Environment and Conservation
709-729-2575, 698-0928



2010 02 21                                            4:55 p.m.

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