Mountain caribuo. Photo © Milo Burcham

Inland Temperate Rainforest: Saving the endangered mountain caribou

Nestled in inland British Columbia in the Rocky mountain range, the Inland Temperate Rainforest is the only forest of its kind in the world: a misty, temperate rainforest hundreds of miles from the sea. Stunningly beautiful, it attracts adventurers, outdoor enthusiasts, and one of the shiest, most endangered mammals in North America— the mountain caribou.

With their large, wide hooves that function as a sort of snowshoe, mountain caribou stay high in the snowy mountains and feed on the lichen that grows on ancient trees. Their incredibly shy nature makes seeing them nearly impossible, but we don’t need to see them to believe that we want a world where mountain caribou exist, and even thrive.

For many years, ForestEthics dedicated itself to saving the mountain caribou, which were blinking out towards extinction quickly, as their habitat disappeared to the bulldozers. Thanks to our work, and that of many tireless allies, in February of 2009 the government of British Columbia legally protected more than 5.4 million acres (2.2 million hectares) of endangered mountain caribou habitat in the Inland Temperate Rainforest from logging and associated road building. The government also prohibited motorized recreation across 2.4 million acres (one million hectares) of caribou habitat.

This incredible success grew from the hard work of people from all walks of life—people who’ve never seen a mountain caribou, and probably never will.

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Inland Temperate Rainforest map