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

Back in Time

Historical Perspective

Clearwater residents participate in Amazing Race

Race was set up and run by the Barriere Outdoor Club on Oct. 5

Season 31 Poker Tournament held Sept. 25

Play for Season 32 commenced on Oct. 2 and ends Dec. 11

How to vote in Clearwater

Voters must be 18 years old and must bring identification that proves their address

VIDEO: Langley woman’s security camera records its own theft

Langley family discovers early morning grab was recorded

Canadian Snowbirds plane crashes before air show in Atlanta

Pilot lands safely after ejecting from jet

Share crash data, private insurers tell David Eby, ICBC

B.C. monopoly makes drivers retrieve their own records

B.C. VIEWS: Wolf kill, not backcountry bans, saving caribou

B.C.’s largest herds turn the corner from extinction

Pearson nets shootout winner as Canucks clip Flyers 3-2

Vancouver picks up second straight home win

Map on Elections Canada website sends Nanaimo-Ladysmith voters to landfill

Address for polling station correct, but Google Map address differs

BC Children’s Hospital launches 2 new virtual care sites bringing total to 19 across province

Provincial initiative allows pediatric patients to see health specialists through video

‘Wham-bam out the door’: Surrey man’s front yard left ruined by scamming landscaper

Resident warns neighbours to be careful of door-to-door salesmen

Most Read