Provincial biologists capture one of three remaining mountain caribou in a South Selkirk herd, to relocate it with a larger group in an effort to maintain a viable breeding population, January 2019. (B.C. forests ministry)

Wolf kill working in B.C. caribou recovery, ministry study shows

South Peace herds coming back four years into aerial program

Three of B.C.’s largest Central Mountain caribou herds are recovering strongly as provincial biologists continue the aerial shooting of wolves, a government report says.

The predator control program began in 2015 to address a “drastic decline” in South Peace and Kootenay caribou herds, as resource roads and winter snowmobile trails gave wolves access to winter back-country that allowed increased predation of young caribou.

“The decrease in wolf abundance across the South Peace treatment area has shown conclusive evidence that intensive wolf reduction has halted and reversed the declining trends of the Klinse-Za, Kennedy Siding and Quintette caribou populations,” says the report submitted to the forests ministry in August by staff biologist Mike Bridger.

“Although the first year of wolf reduction did not occur at a high enough intensity to elicit a caribou population effect, the following three years were sufficiently intensive [wolf densities were reduced to below two wolves per square km] to elicit a strong population response in all three treatment herds.”

The results of the predator control program helped Forests Minister Doug Donaldson decide that further extension of protected areas in the Williams Lake and Kootenay regions would not be necessary.

Last spring community meetings were packed with concerned citizens and industry representatives after closed-door sessions with a pair of northeast B.C. Indigenous groups resulted in a proposal to greatly extend protected areas there. Premier John Horgan intervened and appointed former Peace River South MLA Blair Lekstrom to review the situation, resulting in a two-year moratorium on new development rather than the proposal to shut down some forestry and mining operations.

RELATED: B.C. Interior caribou protection area big enough: minister

VIDEO: Soon-to-be-extinct caribou relocated north of Revelstoke

Donaldson told Black Press in mid-September that consultations with B.C. communities about 20 endangered herds are working towards management plans that do not require adding to already extensive areas put off limits to industrial and recreational use in the mountainous regions of B.C.

“We’ll be developing those over the next couple of years in consultation with communities and their interests,” Donaldson said. “But we think we have enough tools at our disposal not to require additional habitat protection areas for those herds.”


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Housing concerns prompt decline in Fraser Cascade’s student enrolment

This year saw lower than projected enrolment, likely because of families moving out of the district

‘Re-emerging’ artist takes on Harrison’s Ranger Station residency

Painter Ava P. Christl will be the gallery’s newest artist in residence

Kent wastewater plant gets $7,500 grant for improvement study

The district will be looking at modifications to its digester system

Fantasy Farms told to stop holding special events on farmland that go against agricultural rules

The Morans say it might spell the end of their seasonal events like Reapers Haunted Attractions

New event invites Agassiz to meet museum’s resident ghost

The Haunted Museum Tour will take place on Oct. 26 and 30

VIDEO: Agassiz lights candles in memory of missing, murdered Indigenous women

The Sisters in Spirit vigil took place at the Agassiz United Church

Man who orchestrated Mission murders gets day parole after serving less than three years

Victims’ parents express grief, outrage over parole board decision

Woman, 24, faces life-altering injuries after being dragged 4 blocks by vehicle in Vancouver

A gofundme account says the woman will have to undergo multiple complex surgeries

Fatal overdoses down by 33% in B.C., but carfentanil deaths continue to spike

Carfentanil, an illicit drug more powerful than fentanyl, causing more deaths than ever

A year after pot legalization in Canada, it’s a slow roll

It’s one year into Canada’s experiment in legal marijuana, and hundreds of legal pot shops have opened

ELECTION 2019: Climate strikes push environment to top of mind for federal leaders

Black Press Media presents a three-part series on three big election issues

Most Read