Two Caribou Species May Warrant Protection Under Endangered Species Act

Service Announces Two Caribou Species May Warrant Protection under the Endangered Species Act

Peary Caribou
Peary Caribou In The Arctic
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Washington, DC –-( The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) today announced two subspecies of caribou, the Peary caribou and the Dolphin and Union caribou, will undergo an in-depth status review following receipt of a petition to list them as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

The two species inhabit islands in the far northern Arctic regions of Canada.

On September 15, 2009, the Service received a petition from the International Fund for Animal Welfare, which reported potential threats to the caribou, such as the present and future destruction of habitat, alterations to offspring production in conjunction with changing plant phenology and forage availability and a decrease in sea ice, particularly citing climate change as the most significant threat.

An amended petition was submitted on May 14, 2010, and provided supplemental information to the original petition. The Service has concluded the petition presents substantial scientific information warranting a comprehensive status review and is soliciting all available scientific and commercial data.

Today’s finding is based on information about the species provided in the petition requesting protection of the species under the ESA. The petition finding does not mean that the Service has decided it is appropriate to give these two subspecies of caribou federal protection under the ESA. Rather, this finding is the first step in a process that triggers a more thorough review of all the biological information available. The finding will publish in the Federal Register on April 5, 2011.

To ensure the status review is comprehensive, the Service is soliciting information from all interested parties regarding the two caribou species and habitat.

Written comments and information concerning this proposal can be submitted by one of the following methods:

Federal eRulemaking Portal: Follow the instructions for submitting comments. U.S. mail or hand-delivery: Public Comments Processing, Attn: [FWS-R9-ES-2010-0001]; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, MS 2042–PDM; Arlington, VA 22203.

Comments must be received within 60 days, on or before June 6, 2011. The Service will post all comments on This generally means the agency will post any personal information provided through the process. The Service is not able to accept email or faxes.

The ESA provides a critical safety net for fish, wildlife and plants and to date has prevented the extinction of hundreds of imperiled species, as well as promoting the recovery of many others. The Service is actively engaged with conservation partners and the public in the search for improved and innovative ways to conserve and recover imperiled species. To learn more about the Service’s implementation of the ESA, go to

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit