Experts Worried About Northern Caribou Herd

Friday, November 28, 2008 at 14:35



There appears to be a sharp decline in the number of caribou in a herd that frequents northern Saskatchewan.


The Beverly and Qamanirjuaq Caribou Management Board says recent evidence indicates the numbers of cows seen on the Beverly calving ground dropped from over 5,700 in 1994 to just 93 in June of this year.


Data supplied by the North West Territories government also indicates very few calves were seen during the 2008 survey of the Beverly herd — only 15 for every 100 females.


The Beverly herd’s range extends from Northern Saskatchewan through the Northwest Territories to Nunavut, which is where they give birth.


Tim Trottier of the Beverly and Qamanirjuaq Caribou Management Board says they even looked to see if the animals were giving birth in other locations, but there is no evidence that is happening.


The herd once numbered around a quarter of a million animals — but experts fear those numbers could be well down.


Trottier says the most recent numbers don’t bode well for the total population of the herd.


However, he cautions they may not tell the whole story, as the last time a full census was performed was in 1994.


Still, the board wants to see a stoppage in mineral exploration on the Beverly herd’s traditional calving ground in Nunavut.