A population survey will be carried out over the next several weeks on Northern Peninsula caribou herds, as part of the Provincial Government’s ongoing research and management efforts for woodland caribou on the island portion of the province. The survey is taking place in the vicinities of Deer Lake, Baie Verte, north along the Northern Peninsula to St. Anthony, and will include the Gregory Plateau, Aides Lake, Hampton Downs, Northern Peninsula, Gros Morne and St. Anthony caribou herds.
“Caribou are an important resource to the people of this province from many aspects, including recreational, social and economic standpoints,” said the Honourable Terry French, Minister of Environment and Conservation. “We are committed to ensuring an updated monitoring and inventory program for our herds. These efforts are also linked to the ongoing research and management initiatives associated with the province’s five-year caribou strategy announced in 2008. ”
As part of the survey, a number of caribou will be marked using a highly-visible red paint. Once a number of animals in the herd have been marked, they will be surveyed again at a later date. The population size will then be estimated for each herd using a formula that calculates the ratio of marked animals versus unmarked animals. Neither the marking of the caribou, nor the paint itself, poses any harm to the animal. As marked caribou lose their winter coat in the spring, the red marking will also disappear from the animals.
The public are also advised that low-level flying aircraft will be used in the area to conduct this census work. The census will be ongoing until the end of March.
“Management of all wildlife in our province relies on ensuring we have current information that is science-based and available to us in a timely manner to help inform our decisions,” said Minister French. “Conducting surveys of caribou, along with other methods such as information gathering from hunters is very important to this process and, ultimately, to our goals of ensuring the long-term sustainability of our wildlife.”