03/09/2018 13:42 EST | Updated 03/09/2018 13:42 EST

Quebec Says Saving Threatened Woodland Caribou Too Expensive

It makes more sense to focus conservation efforts on Quebec's 7,000 other caribou, Quebec's forests minister said.

A woodland caribou bull is seen in this undated handout photo.

MONTREAL — The Quebec government says it would be too expensive to try to save a small herd of woodland caribou whose habitat has been decimated by human activity.

Forests and Wildlife Minister Luc Blanchette estimates it would cost $76 million over 50 years to try to save the 18 remaining animals, with only a slim chance of success.

He said in a video capsule it makes more sense to focus conservation efforts on Quebec's 7,000 other caribou.

Blanchette said the government will still take measures to prevent the herd's further decline, including a moratorium on logging in their habitat in northwestern Quebec for the 2018-2019 season.

An environmental activist who has fought to save the caribou says the decision amounts to putting the interests of logging companies over those of wildlife.

Henri Jacob of Action Boreale says the government has a responsibility to try to repair the damage it caused over the last 30 years when it allowed loggers and hunters to overrun the forest.

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