Projects and Management Activities

Caribou management activities in B.C. are extensive and varied. Read more about how these activities are being used with the goal of achieving a self-sustaining caribou population.

 

  • Implementation of the Provincial Caribou Recovery Program is being monitored closely to determine whether projects need to be modified or revised in order to meet recovery goals and objectives
  • Research is being conducted to address knowledge gaps and provide land managers with evidence to either substantiate or negate new and innovative systems, existing projects, pilot projects and research to support caribou recovery in the province
  • Performance management and effectiveness monitoring is incorporated into all aspects of the Provincial Recovery Program to evaluate the efficacy of management techniques and provide recommendations to improve the Program
 

Conservation Breeding

  • Conservation breeding is a commonly used process in wildlife reserves, zoos, botanic gardens, and other conservation facilities
  • Details of how this could help to support caribou recovery in B.C. are currently being developed
  • High quality caribou habitat is actively being researched, analysed and consulted in many areas across the province
  • Past strategies to protect caribou and other species have been through regulating land-use activities to reduce negative impacts
  • Canada’s Caribou Recovery Strategy under the Species at Risk Act expects that critical caribou habitat in the province be “effectively protected”
  • In general, this means human activities should be managed so that there is a high degree of certainty that caribou and caribou habitat will not be impacted, degraded or destroyed
  • Two methods of habitat restoration are being implemented in the province: functional and ecological restoration
  • Functional restoration is aimed at reducing the use of linear features; roads, trails, rights-of-way, and seismic lines
  • Wolves, other large predators and people can move along these access routes more quickly than through dense bush, and easily travel to caribou habitats that were once difficult to reach
  • Restoration activities include replanting routes that are no longer in use, placing slash, trees and other debris across trails, disrupting sightlines, and putting up fences
  • Ecological restoration refers to the regeneration of a disturbed ecosystem to its pre-disturbed state; tree replanting, enhanced site work, controlling herbaceous species such as willow, and the use of fertilizers help speed up the ecological restoration of disturbed habitat

​Due to COVID-19 related safety concerns for our clients, all face to face Herd Planning meetings have been temporarily cancelled. Our team will be using conference calls or web-based meetings when appropriate. We hope that everyone is healthy, practicing appropriate physical distancing and receiving the support they need to respond to COVID-19. 

Herd Planning Schedule (PDF)

  • This is the purposeful moving of caribou from one sub population to another
  • Also called “augmentation” for the receiving sub population
  • This has been used several times in BC in attempts to either bolster small populations or to establish caribou in vacant habitat
 

Maternal Penning

  • In its simplest form, maternity (or maternal) penning involves capturing female caribou in late spring and transporting them to a secure enclosure
  • Pregnant females are able to give birth in a predator free environment 
  • Once the youngest calf reaches approximately 2-6 weeks old, they are released back into the wild with their mothers
  • British Columbia currently has two active maternity penning projects: one near Revelstoke,  and another in the Northeast at Klinse-Za

The B.C. government has partnered with the Saulteau and West Moberly First Nations and the federal government to achieve a historic agreement that strives to protect southern mountain caribou in northeastern B.C. while considering the social and economic well-being of communities and stakeholders in the region. The partnership agreement, signed on February 21, 2020, reflects a collaborative approach to caribou conservation, which:

  • Complements the leadership role that the Saulteau First Nation and West Moberly First Nations have already taken on caribou recovery efforts in the Peace region;
  • Includes a commitment to protect over 700,000 hectares of important caribou habitat in northeastern B.C.; and
  • Builds on the work that the parties have already undertaken in habitat restoration, maternal penning projects and predator management. Through these efforts, the decline of the central group has been reversed. The population is now growing at an average rate of 15% per year.

Arc Shapefiles & Google Earth KMLs for Draft Partnership Agreement Zones available on the FTP Site

Ongoing engagement with stakeholders has helped guide recovery efforts for the central group, including a Southern Mountain Caribou Central Group Partnership Leaders’ Table meeting held in November 2019 and a series of stakeholder committee meetings that were initiated in January 2020.

  • Snowmobile Advisory Committee - see the “Snowmobile Management” tab below.
  • Caribou Recovery Related Land Use Objective Stakeholder Committee includes industry and local governments and will ensure local governments, industry and stakeholders are fully involved in the process of developing Caribou Recovery Related Land Use Objectives.
  • Socio-Economic Committee includes industry and local governments and will review the work done by Big River Analytics and provide recommendations to B.C. and Canada on further analysis that is needed to understand the impacts of the Partnership Agreement and plan mitigation strategies.
  • Predators are typically managed in one of three ways or in combinations of these methods:
    1. Through regulated hunting and trapping (eg. increased season lengths, bag limits, removing female quota, etc.)
    2. Through the management of their primary prey populations; and,
    3. Through direct removal
  • Logging and forest fires have changed some of the woodland caribou’s forest habitats 
  • The resulting young forests support higher populations of moose, elk and deer
  • These primary prey species support populations of predators increasing their density
  • Caribou are susceptible to the resulting higher predator density and become secondary prey
  • Reducing other prey species in and around caribou habitat may help reduce the presence of predators, reducing predation on the caribou
  • This idea is being tested in pilot projects to reduce moose numbers in the Parsnip and Revelstoke areas - findings from these ongoing projects will influence decisions for habitat, and could lead to a standard approach in similar habitats
  • The caribou recovery program is actively exploring options for managing habitat in ways that will be less desirable for moose, deer, and elk
  • Finding shared solutions for moose and caribou management in B.C (PDF)

On February 21, 2020, the Governments of B.C. and Canada signed the Canada British Columbia Conservation Agreement for Southern Mountain Caribou in British Columbia (PDF, 3.6MB). The bilateral agreement contains overarching commitments, measures and strategies for the recovery of southern mountain caribou throughout the range of the species in B.C.

Section 11 of the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA) allows Canada to enter into conservation agreements to benefit species at risk.

On the same day, the Governments of B.C. and Canada, and the West Moberly First Nations, and Saulteau First Nation signed the Partnership Agreement for the Conservation of the Southern Mountain Caribou – Central Group (2020-02-21) (PDF, 22.8MB). The Partnership Agreement is focused on three Central Group local population units of southern mountain caribou within British Columbia. 

Throughout B.C., winter motorized recreation is managed to protect caribou. For more information and to view maps showing the areas open to snowmobiling and areas closed under the Wildlife Act, please visit our Snowmobile Closures website

On Jan 23, 2020, the Caribou Recovery Program invited the B.C. Snowmobile Federation, leaders from local snowmobile clubs and local governments in the South Peace area to come together to form the South Peace Snowmobile Advisory Committee. The purpose of this committee is to ensure that any snowmobile management plans for the South Peace Region are informed with local input, provide advice and guidance on how to engage with snowmobilers in the South Peace Region, review options on snowmobile management plans and provide recommendations to government before plans are finalized. 

Snowmobiling is not the primary cause of population decline, however, with such low population numbers in the central group, thoughtful snowmobile management can support recovery

  • A number of factors contribute to caribou herds leaving their preferred habitat where they have access to fewer and less nutritious food
  • Ongoing research projects suggest that focused supplemental feeding could offset or supplement the availability of easy high-quality food in the wild, and may be a practical way to promote population growth
  • Better fed healthier animals are more likely to have strong offspring
  • Backcountry recreational activity can disturb or displace caribou from their preferred habitat, which results in increased energy expenditure by the caribou and can lead to an increase in health problems
  • Controlled and limited access to sensitive habitats in the backcountry is the most effective way to reduce disturbance to caribou from tourism and recreational activities in some areas
  • Public and stakeholder education is vital to raise awareness, to boost a stewardship culture, and encourage desired behaviour in tourism and recreational user groups
  • B.C. has a long history of working with tourism and recreation groups and provincial organizations to support this work
  • Educating the public on the potential impacts of their activities on caribou herds and their habitats is essential, especially as more and more people want to visit the backcountry