Statement on translocation of mountain caribou from Selkirks and Purcell herds

Statement on translocation of mountain caribou from Selkirks and Purcell herds

Conservation Northwest / Nov 02, 2018 / British Columbia, Caribou, Restoring Wildlife

In response to news from British Columbia that the province will soon capture the last remaining caribou from the South Selkirks and South Purcell herds, two cows and three bulls and a cow*, and transplant them to a rearing pen near Revelstoke, Conservation Northwest released the following statement:
Mountain caribou populations continue to decline across their range due to habitat loss, human disturbance and changes in predator-prey dynamics. Photo: David Moskowitz / Mountain Caribou Initiative

“This is what extinction looks like, and it must be a wake-up call for wildlife and habitat managers in both Canada and the United States,” said Joe Scott, Conservation Northwest International Programs Director and a member of B.C.’s Mountain Caribou Recovery Progress Board. “While it comes as no surprise given the long decline of the only caribou herds that still roamed into northeast Washington and northern Idaho, today’s news marks the tragic end of an era.”

Conservation Northwest supports the move to translocate the remaining South Selkirks and South Purcell mountain caribou to maternity pens in hopes these animals will survive and reproduce—and provide the offspring to eventually restore the South Selkirks herd. We call on the U.S. and Canadian federal governments and the province of British Columbia to significantly increase protections for the old forest habitat that mountain caribou need, including a moratorium on destruction of critical caribou habitat.

“We’re not giving up on mountain caribou, and neither are the many thousands of Canadians and Americans passionate about these endangered icons and the Inland Temperate Rainforest they call home,” said Scott. “At this juncture, wildlife managers must pursue all possible options to ensure southern mountain caribou don’t disappear for good.”

*Update: previous reports included conflicting information on the number of mountain caribou remaining in the South PUrcells herd. Our understanding is that three bulls and one cow remain there.
Learn more about our work to protect and recover mountain caribou on this webpage.