Seeking Advice on the Future of Caribou in the Lake Superior Coast Range

ERO number
Notice type
Endangered Species Act , R.S.O. 2007
Posted by
Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry
Notice stage
Proposal posted
Comment period
March 19, 2018 - May 3, 2018 (45 days) Closed

This consultation was open from:

March 19, 2018
to May 3, 2018

Proposal summary

We are seeking your input to inform the development of a management approach for the Lake Superior Coast Range and Discontinuous Distribution that addresses boreal caribou conservation and recovery in this area.

Proposal details

Description of policy

Boreal caribou (caribou) are listed as threatened under Ontario’s Endangered Species Act, 2007. Currently, boreal caribou are found across most of northern Ontario, where distribution of the species is generally continuous across broad landscapes. Thirteen caribou ranges have been delineated in this region.

Farther south, along the northeast shore of Lake Superior, the Lake Superior Coast Range supports isolated populations of caribou.  The coastal range is unique in its small size, shoreline location, and inclusion of small nearshore and two large off-shore islands, the Slate Islands and Michipicoten Island.

The Lake Superior Coast Range is separated from the ranges to the north by an area called the Discontinuous Distribution.  Both the coastal range and Discontinuous Distribution were continuously populated with caribou until the late 1800s. Over time, factors such as unregulated hunting and changes in land cover and forest composition as a result of human development and activities led to the extirpation (local extinction) of caribou in the Discontinuous Distribution and decline of caribou numbers in the Lake Superior Coast Range.

Caribou are spatially separated across the Lake Superior Coast Range into relatively isolated sub-populations comprised of the mainland and nearshore islands, and the large off-shore islands, Michipicoten Island and the Slates Islands. These spatially separated populations interact when individual members move from one population to another. There is limited but occasional natural (example are ice bridges) and human assisted movements between these three sub-populations.

In recent years, Michipicoten and the Slate Islands have supported the majority of the caribou in the Lake Superior Coast Range. These islands are normally predator free; however recently wolves arrived on these islands over an ice bridge and have since have significantly reduced these sub-populations.

Ontario’s Woodland Caribou Conservation Plan (2009) recognized the unique characteristics of this area and recommended the development of management approaches specific to the Lake Superior Coast Range and Discontinuous Distribution.

Supporting materials

View materials in person

Some supporting materials may not be available online. If this is the case, you can request to view the materials in person.

Get in touch with the office listed below to find out if materials are available.

Species Conservation Policy Branch

435 James Street South
1st floor
Thunder Bay, ON
P7E 6T1


Commenting is now closed.

The comment period was from March 19, 2018
to May 3, 2018

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Peggy Bluth

Phone number
Email address
Species Conservation Policy Branch

435 James Street South
1st floor
Thunder Bay, ON
P7E 6T1

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