PARKS CANADA, GOVERNMENT OF MANITOBA PARTNER TO BETTER PROTECT WORLD'S LARGEST POLAR BEAR DENNING AREA
– – – Memorandum of Understanding to Improve Management of Parks, Crown Land, Better Collaborate on Monitoring Environment: Premier, Aglukkaq
WINNIPEG, Man., September 9, 2013 – One of the world’s largest polar bear denning areas will have more environmental protection, better tourism management and enhanced research opportunities through a new partnership between Parks Canada and the Manitoba Government,the Honourable Greg Selinger, Premier of Manitoba, and the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Canada’s Environment Minister and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, said today.
The two levels of government have signed a Memorandum of Understanding for improved collaboration in areas around Wapusk National Park (WNP) and the provincial Churchill Wildlife Management Area (CMWA). The agreement also applies to Riding Mountain National Park and surrounding provincial lands.
“Working together will allow us to increase capacity to do ecological monitoring, resource management and public education about some of the province’s most valuable ecological and cultural resources including the polar bear,” said Premier Selinger. “This will also strengthen our partnerships with First Nations, other Aboriginal communities and stakeholders to better balance environmental and economic issues.”
The agreement outlines how the federal and provincial departments will work together including:
making licensing for tourism operations easier;
standardizing protocols for rescuing and rehabilitating orphaned polar bear cubs and investigating polar bear deaths;
improving wildlife management including more protection for rare species, increased monitoring of trapping activities and increased research of polar bear and caribou habitats;
developing polar bear safety standards that govern direct human interactions with the bears and address the effects of climate change on bear habitat and behaviour; and
expanding scientific knowledge and research opportunities through cooperation on research camps, improving research facilities in both the WNP and CMWA, and creating reciprocal agreements for scientists from both departments to share those facilities and share their information with the public by way of the International Polar Bear Conservation Centre.
“Parks Canada is a leader in conservation, not only in Canada but throughout the world, and agreements like this one better enable us to protect our parks while helping Canadians connect with the tremendous natural heritage of our country,” said Minister Aglukkaq. “By working more closely with Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship, Parks Canada will be better positioned to protect the ecological integrity of Riding Mountain and Wapusk national parks including critical denning habitat for the iconic polar bear in Wapusk.”
Wapusk National Park, near Churchill, protects one of the world’s largest known polar bear maternity denning areas. The park represents the Hudson James Lowlands natural region bordering on Hudson Bay and lies on the transition between boreal forest and Arctic tundra. For more information on the park, visit: www.parkscanada.gc.ca/wapusk.
Churchill is home to the province’s largest wildlife management area (almost 850,000 hectares), which protects the polar bear’s summer resting areas and denning grounds where cubs are born. For more information on the Churchill Wildlife Management Area, visit: www.gov.mb.ca/conservation/wildlife/viewing/churchill.html.
Riding Mountain National Park protects more than 3,000 square kilometres of land where the boreal forest, the aspen parkland and the fescue prairie meet on the Manitoba Escarpment. For more information on the park, visit: www.parkscanada.gc.ca/riding.
Parks Canada works to ensure Canada’s historic and natural heritage is protected and, through a network of 44 national parks, 167 national historic sites, and four national marine conservation areas, invites Canadians and people around the world to engage in personal moments of inspiring discovery at treasured natural and historic places.