British Columbia Caribou Strategy Making Headway

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Government is making progress on the planning, consultation and legal changes to protect 2.2 million hectares of mountain caribou habitat.

Following from the Mountain Caribou Science Team's recommendations, several months of complex planning and consultation with over 80 stakeholders have taken place. The mountain caribou recovery strategy is targeting approximately 77,000 hectares inside and 300,000 hectares outside the timber-harvesting land base for protection, in addition to habitat already protected for caribou. A cross-sector monitoring board has been established to oversee progress.

Outdoor recreation associations are also doing their part to protect caribou. Over 60 stewardship management agreements, developed in collaboration with biologists and conservationists, are currently being reviewed. Alongside these efforts, government has established two moratoria to limit new activities in habitat areas. Workshops have been held to develop compliance and enforcement mechanisms, key indicators and best management practices to ensure that existing uses address the needs of caribou.

A multi-phase plan for managing caribou herds and the predator-prey system is already being implemented, including augmentation planning for critically threatened herds. A sub-population census has been completed and a regularly scheduled full census is due in 2009. Early survey results show a population increase in the South Selkirks from 37 to 46 since 2006 with five calves, and an increase in Central Selkirks from 85 to 102 with 13 calves.

The Province committed to a long-term recovery strategy for B.C.'s mountain caribou and announced its plan for the species in October 2007 which includes:

  • * Protecting 2.2 million hectares of mountain caribou range from logging and road building, capturing 95 per cent of the caribou's high suitability winter habitat.
  • * Managing human recreational activities in mountain caribou habitat in a manner that ensures critical habitat areas are effectively protected.
  • * Managing predator populations of wolf and cougar where they are preventing the recovery of mountain caribou populations.
  • * Managing the primary prey of caribou predators.
  • * Boosting caribou numbers in threatened herds with animals transplanted from elsewhere to ensure herds achieve critical mass for self-sufficiency.
  • * Supporting adaptive management and research and implement effective monitoring plans for habitat, recreation and predator-prey management.
  • * Instituting a cross-sector progress board in spring 2008 to monitor the effectiveness of recovery actions.

Further details on the Mountain Caribou Strategy and plans are available at the Species at Risk Coordination Office website: http://ilmbwww.gov.bc.ca/sarco/mc/index.html