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.

BC legislature

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey seniors call Seniors’ Centre Without Walls, a new-to-B.C. program

‘Crazy coincidence’ saw program connect soon after COVID-19 pandemic hit

Delta council approves plan to reopen city facilities

Next phase of plan includes outdoor pools, summer day camps, outdoor fitness programs

Education minister announces new South Surrey elementary school

Additions at two elementary schools also announced

White Rock reopens more waterfront parking

East Beach availability boosted for residents, public

March dental conference key to many of B.C.’s COVID-19 cases

Early infections from China, Iran were quickly contained

Vancouver Island First Nations gather to remember woman fatally shot by police

Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council requests an independent investigation

VIDEO: Pitt Meadows dentist gets grand welcome home after two-month COVID-19 battle

Michael Chow was given a surprise send off by hospital staff and ‘welcome home’ from neighbours

MAP: Dr. Henry reveals which B.C. regions have seen most COVID-19 cases

B.C. health officials release a first look at how the novel coronavirus has reached all corners of the province

Help the ‘Cloverdale Reporter’ continue its mission to provide trusted local news

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation woman, 26, fatally shot by police in Edmundston, N.B.

Police were conducting a well-being check at the time of the incident

Stray dog with duct tape around muzzle spotted in Abbotsford

Pooch has been spotted over two days, but has escaped capture so far

Seniors to receive up to $500 in promised COVID-19 emergency aid in early July

The Liberal government first promised the extra help in mid-May, but had to create a new system to deliver the aid

VIDEO: Revelstoke bear wanders into Animal House pet store

Staff got ready to chase it out with a broom

Most Read