A caribou expert says hoof-rot may possibly have impacted the Beverly and Qamanirjuaq Caribou herds.

Ross Thompson is the executive director of the management board that advocates for the herds.

He says community members noticed the problem over the past couple of years and believe it may have had a negative affect on the animal’s welfare:

“It’s a factor that makes them anemic, weaker, can’t get around as much so that’s something that definitely was affecting the Qamanirjuaq herd.”

He says the hoof-rot isn’t believed to be a problem for the animals right now but they’ll have to wait for summer surveys to know for sure.

He adds the Beverly herd has an estimated 124,000 caribou while Qamanirjuaq is pegged at 345,000.

Herd populations have been trending downward but Thompson says they appear to have stabilized somewhat.

However he explains the biggest worry for their group is the impact industrial developments are having on the caribou, particularly on their calving grounds.

He says everyone agrees protecting the animal’s calving grounds is of the utmost importance, and that’s why segregation counts of the herds would be a good idea:

“You know the Inuit folks and the community reps from the Dene side say that for the Beverly situation the herds are ‘all mixed up’ so it’s pretty hard to tell right now where the finite home-range for the Beverly herd is.”

Thompson says the board recently held a meeting where they endorsed a new ten-year management plan.

He adds the board also plants to meet with AREVA in late March or early April to discuss concerns over a uranium mine in Nunavut.