Each year, Earth Day focuses on a specific theme to raise awareness of a particular environmental issue we are currently facing. (Last year’s theme encouraged people to make positive changes in their lifestyles by reducing their plastic consumption.) This year, Earth Day aims to draw attention to threatened and endangered species across the planet.

Here, at home in the Yukon, there is no more notable animal than the boreal ground and Northern Mountain woodland caribou. Boreal caribou are listed as threatened on the Species at Risk Public Registry across Canada, while the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) designated the Northern Mountain woodland caribou a Species of Special Concern.

According to the 2018 Status of Environment Report from Environment Yukon, there are 26 Northern Mountain woodland caribou herds in the territory. Four herds are increasing in size, seven are considered relatively stable, three are declining and the remaining 12 have unknown trends. Yukon’s boreal caribou numbers are small, shared with the Northwest Territories, and considered self-sustaining.

The first part of finding solutions is always being informed of the challenges. And that is what Earth Day is all about. This year, educate yourself on some of the threats facing our animal species here in the Yukon and around the world.

We don’t need the animals on our planet, the bee populations, or the coral reefs, to go the way of the dinosaurs or the dodo.