Northern Mountain Caribou
There are 29 herds within the northern mountain caribou designatable unit (DU7) which was formerly known as the northern caribou ecotype. Twenty-five of those herds spend part or all of their time in British Columbia. Most caribou spend winters in mature, low elevation lodgepole pine or black spruce forests, or on wind-swept alpine slopes feeding on terrestrial lichens. These caribou tend to make long-distance migrations to calve and spend summer in mountainous terrain.
As new information on caribou distribution and abundance becomes available the herd range boundaries are evaluated and updated. There are several initiatives to update provincial herd range boundaries and changes to herd maps to reflect most current information.
Until recently, these caribou have maintained a relatively robust population. However, the latest monitoring results have indicated that the population of these herds may be declining. Threats to these caribou are similar to the threats to boreal caribou, including habitat loss, fragmentation and alteration, and increased predation likely related to increased development pressure in their ranges. Efforts to protect and better understand the herds are underway.
These caribou are currently listed as threatened under the federal Species at Risk Act. The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) assessed the status of these caribou in 2014, and recommended that they be listed as special concern. However, population data is variable and scarce, so scientists have less confidence in herd size estimates.
For more information on the caribou read:
- Herd Boundary Refinement for the Chase, Spatsizi, and Frog Caribou Herds in North-central British Columbia (PDF, 7.3MB)
- Population Assessment of Southern Mountain Caribou (Rangifer tarandus) in the Prince George Forest District (PDF, 1.9MB)
Section 16 and Section 17 of the Land Act Reserves are one tool that may partially contribute to conservation measures for wildlife habitat, although they are not used on a large scale. Application of a Section 16 Map Reserve is for temporary withdrawal from crown land, and Section 17 is a Designated Use Area for conditional withdrawal from crown land. These tools essentially flag a formal conservation interest.
Forest and Range Practices Act
- Authorities to establish habitat designations
- Ungulate Winter Range Orders
- Wildlife Habitat Area Orders
- Old Growth Management Areas