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December 23, 2005

A Gift for the Reindeer Too

A federal judge has halted snowmobile grooming in the recovery area for the Selkirk caribou--the only reindeer to still visit the continental United States. [Coverage in the Olympian and the Coeur d'Alene-area Daily Bee.] The ruling is dead right: snowmobiles are one of the primary threats to the Selkirk herd, which need undisturbed winter habitat. Snowmobiles are still allowed, even under the new injunction, but the absence of groomed tracks will substantially decrease their numbers.

Given that 1) the caribou are often considered the most endangered large mammal in North America; 2) pretty much everyone agrees that snowmobiling is inimical to their survival; and 3) their designated recovery area is a small and remote parcel of mountainous northeast Washington and northern Idaho, the only question I'm left wondering is: why is any snowmobiling at all allowed in their so-called "recovery area"?

And for readers taking note, this is the third good news post here today. Must be the season...

Posted by Eric de Place | Permalink

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