Wood Buffalo National Park is in peril.

This park which is located in Canada straddles the Alberta-Northwest Territories and is a vast stretch of grassland, forest, wetland and lakes. With 45,000 square kilometers it contains one of the world’s largest freshwater delta. Flocks of waterfowl and songbirds are often found on its shores. According to UNESCO it has an outstanding and universal value and therefore was designated a World Heritage Site.

According to experts the area is now in danger more than ever, especially since 2014. The main threats stem from the possible development of hydro dams. With less water flowing in the park birds will be affected as well bison’s and muskrats. Even people will get stuck on mudflats as water levels will not be high enough. Oil development upstream of the park could also endanger it. The Frontier oil sands mine proposed would be the closest to the park yet.

Parks Canada has responded that the focus of various reports were too narrow, pointing out that the challenges come mostly from outside the boundaries of the park such as climate change. It has also said that the reports did not take into account the future management actions that it intends to take to correct the problems. In other words, we have to trust Parks Canada that it will do the right thing for the management of the park.

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