EDMONTON - Environmentalists are asking Alberta Energy Minister Ken Hughes to stop selling oil and gas leases on the remaining habitat of a vanishing caribou herd.
The Little Smoky herd's range is already 95 per cent disturbed by energy development.
The provincial and federal governments have both said habitat conservation is a priority, but Alberta plans to lease thousands of hectares within the herd's range.
In a letter to Hughes, the Alberta Wilderness Association says new methods such as directional drilling could reduce the impact of development.
The department has said the proposed sales are a tiny fraction of the herd's range and guidelines already protect caribou.
Alberta Environment officials have acknowledged that if the range keeps deteriorating, the herd is likely to disappear.