Wildsight is calling an agreement between levels of government a step forward for caribou in the Kootenays.
Conservation Director John Bergenske says a draft document released last week by the Province and Ottawa ups the standard of protection for the ungulates.
He says numerous factors impact their population and significant effort is needed to save the species.
“It will take additional habitat protections and unfortunately, I think they are going to have to do some captive breeding in order to have animals to reintroduce,” Bergenske says. “I think that’s the thinking that most biologists have come to.”
Bergenske says caribou herds are shrinking in the region, falling from 2500 in the mid 90s to roughly 1300 now.
He says people will need to hold both governments to account.
“The numbers are so low that it would only take an unfortunate event to wipe them out,” Bergenske says. “That’s what happened with the Banff herd a few years ago, one avalanche basically wiped out the remaining herd. We really need to take some strong steps to recover these guys and make sure the habitat is available for them.”
The initiative discusses maternity penning, predator control and habitat protection to help the species sustain itself.
– Wildsight Conservation Director, John Bergenske