Save the Caribou: Google Earth to the Rescue



    Google Earth Video Exposes West Fraser Logging Practices

    VANCOUVER, April 24 /CNW/ - Logging giant West Fraser Timber has come
under the hi-tech magnifying glass of Google Earth. ForestEthics, an
environmental group, has produced a video that "flies" viewers over West
Fraser's operations in endangered caribou habitat in BC and Alberta. The
video, Cutting Down Caribou, was posted to YouTube by ForestEthics on Monday,
April 23, and can also be viewed on ForestEthics' website at
www.forestethics.org/cuttingdowncaribou
    "A picture is worth a thousand words," said Candace Batycki of
ForestEthics. "With Google Earth's satellite imagery, companies like West
Fraser can no longer hide the impact they are having on endangered species and
the last of our old growth forests. For the first time ever, the public,
customers and shareholders can see for themselves the true cost of West Fraser
forest products."
    West Fraser is one of the largest loggers of habitat for the endangered
mountain caribou in BC, and woodland caribou in Alberta. The company retains
this distinction despite its Feb. 22nd announcement of a small logging
deferral in caribou habitat in Alberta.
    According to the company's Forest Development Plans in BC, West Fraser
has planned cut-blocks in mountain caribou habitat totaling 33,000 hectares,
five times more than its nearest competitor. The company also controls over
half of the Boreal forest in Alberta's Rocky Mountain Foothills, including
much of the habitat of the critically endangered Little Smoky caribou herd.
    On the eve of West Fraser's April 25th Annual General Meeting (to be held
in Quesnel, BC on Wednesday) the Google Earth video forms an important part of
an information package sent to the company's top shareholders, directors and
major customers.
    The package cites the recent decision by Aspen Skiing Corporation to drop
Kimberly Clark tissue products, partly because West Fraser is a pulp supplier
to Kimberly-Clark. Environmental groups will be highlighting West Fraser at
Kimberly-Clark's AGM in Texas this Thursday, April 26th. The package also
includes a copy of a letter from Kimberly-Clark from Limited Brands, parent
company of Victoria's Secret, outlining the reasons for Limited Brands'
December announcement that they would no longer purchase products from West
Fraser.
    "West Fraser's massive logging plans in mountain caribou habitat put them
out of touch with the evolving marketplace," said Batycki. "By setting aside
caribou habitat in its tenures and by supporting permanent protection with
government, the company could do the right thing both for its shareholders and
for endangered species."

    Founded in 1994, ForestEthics is a nonprofit environmental organization
with staff in Canada, the United States and Chile. See www.forestethics.org.





For further information:

For further information: Candace Batycki, cell (604) 219-7457

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ForestEthics Advocacy

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