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

West Shore RCMP seizes illegal drugs, imitation handguns in Colwood

One man and one woman arrested for weapons-related offences

Alistair MacGregor addresses federal response to COVID-19

Cowichan-Malahat-Langford MP spoke to constituents via Facebook on Wednesday

Mental Health: A look at a fractured system

In this special series, Black Press Media reporters share stories from across Greater Victoria

VIDEO: Man breaks up Saanich road rage fight

Two men were throwing punches on Tillicum Road

‘We will get through this’: B.C. sees new COVID-19 death, but 57% have recovered

A total of 1,066 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus

POLL: Will you be able to make your rent or mortgage payment this month?

With the COVID-19 delivering a devastating blow to the global economy, and… Continue reading

Couple celebrates 61st anniversary through Vancouver Island seniors’ home window

Frank and Rena Phillips marked occasion at Nanaimo Seniors Village this week while social distancing

A look at some of the B.C. inventors creating life-saving tools in fight against COVID-19

Groups across B.C. are working together to create what they hope will help people affected by the pandemic

Association launches French-language games, online tools for families learning at home

Games, culture and vocabulary included in new virtual resources

‘There can be no ambiguity’: Travellers brought home to B.C. must self-isolate

Health Minister Adrian Dix said the mandatory isolation must be abided by

Belle from ‘Beauty and the Beast’ entertains home-bound kids in Cowichan Bay

Alora Killam, 16, played the part in musical two years ago

55+ BC Games cancelled amid COVID-19 concerns

Greater Victoria set to host 2021 event

BC Hydro offers three-month bill ‘holiday’ for those affected by COVID-19

Industrial customers can defer half of their power bills

Most Read