The federal government says it is one step away from issuing emergency protection orders for dwindling caribou herds in Alberta and British Columbia.
The finding from Environment Canada covers 10 herds in the Southern Mountain population which are under imminent threat.
They are all smaller than 100 animals and continue to decline.
Environment Minister Catherine McKenna says in a statement that immediate intervention is needed if the herds are to recover.
She says measures being used by the provinces don’t include enough habitat protection or restoration.
An emergency protection order would allow Ottawa to control activity on critical habitat for a threatened species that is normally governed by the provinces.
That would include energy development, forestry and agriculture.
Protection orders have been issued previously for sage grouse and the western chorus frog.
Watch below: Conservation Officers take to the air to enforce Revelstoke caribou closures