Photo courtesy of the Beverly and Qamanirjuaq Management Board, arctic-caribou.com
A northern caribou management board has launched a communications campaign aimed at strengthening support for caribou conservation.
The Beverly and Qamanirjuaq Caribou Management Board’s “You Can Make a Difference – Caribou for the Future” campaign has been in development for close to a year and includes a video, posters and fact sheets all zeroing in on three central themes: respectful harvest, the importance of harvest reporting, and cumulative effects on caribou.
BQCMB Executive Director Ross Thompson says the need for this type of information is growing due to the increasing challenges faced by the herds.
“In 2011 there were about 124,000 Beverly caribou, which is less than half the size estimated in 1994,” he said.
“The Qamanirjuaq herd is also declining. In 2014, the herd was estimated to be about 265,000, down from about 344,000 in 2008.”
While the BQCMB’s job is to make recommendations for conservation of the herds and their habitat, this project focuses on what people can do to help ensure there are enough caribou for everybody.
“We do need to know how many caribou are being harvested, but it’s about more than that. We also want to promote a respectful harvest, and let people know about some of the stresses that can affect the caribou herds and ultimately the number of caribou available for harvest, and what people can do to reduce those stresses,” Thompson said.
He said the caribou are a major food source for northern people and the animals are a part of their lives culturally, and the BQCMB’s conservation efforts are vital for the welfare of Dene, Inuit, Métis, Cree and other caribou-range residents who have always hunted Beverly and Qamanirjuaq caribou.
The barren land caribou range from the northern tree line in Saskatchewan all the way up into their Nunavut calving grounds. Thompson said over the last number of years factors such as overharvesting, accidents with transportation companies and intrusion from the mining industry have affected the herds.
The video, posters and fact sheets are available on the BQCMB website at arctic-caribou.com, and will be widely distributed across the Beverly and Qamanirjuaq caribou ranges in the coming weeks.
“Our goal with this campaign is to make sure people know that their efforts can make a difference to help ensure we have caribou for the future,” Thompson said.
They’re targeting schools, hunters and trappers organizations, band councils, regional wildlife organizations, community members, aircraft charter companies and passengers, outfitters, and the mining industry.