The last known caribou in the South Selkirks has been relocated to Revelstoke, along with two others from the Purcell herd. File photo

Caribou herd disappears from Kootenays after last cow relocated

One cow from the South Selkirk herd and two from the Purcells were moved this week

Three caribou from soon-to-be extinct herds in the southern Selkirk and Purcell mountains have been relocated to Revelstoke.

Leo DeGroot, a wildlife biologist for the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources, said two cows and one bull caribou were captured Monday and taken to maternity pens in Revelstoke with the intention of releasing them later this year.

DeGroot said the ministry conceived the plan last August as a way of giving the animals a better chance of survival in a region with the larger Columbia North caribou herd.

“The females will contribute to a breeding population where there’s males around, so there’s an advantage to moving them to bolster another population.”

News of the relocation first spread Monday when a Facebook user posted a picture of a ministry trailer containing caribou that was parked at a gas station in Salmo.

DeGroot said a census last March found just three cows in the Selkirk herd, while the Purcell herd had three bulls and a cow. All seven were collared in April, but according to DeGroot one Selkirk cow was killed by a cougar while the other went missing because of a malfunctioning collar.

That left just one cow — the last caribou alive that ranged in both Canada and the United States — remaining in the South Selkirks.

“It’s really sad to see them go,” said DeGroot. “For me, personally as well, my last 16 years of work has been with these animals and seeing them disappear is discouraging.”

The captured caribou are being kept at the site of the Revelstoke Caribou Rearing in the Wild project, which protected pregnant cows and calves from predators until they were ready to be released. The project technically ended in 2018, but DeGroot said the site will be used temporarily by the ministry.

“The calves are protected from predators during their most vulnerable first month of life, and they also end up in better condition because they’re fed in the pen,” he said.

“They’re fed a green mix, which is more nutritious than their natural food. So they are also released from the pen in better shape [and] better body condition.”

DeGroot said the ministry has not yet decided what to do with the two remaining bulls in the Purcells. The size of the animals, he said, makes them difficult to move, and only one dominant male is needed for the breeding process.

The relocated caribou, meanwhile, could stay in their pen under observation until June.

Related:

Mountain caribou expert to speak in Nelson

Caribou maternity pen project nears its end by Revelstoke

B.C. petition to end wolf cull submitted to province

B.C. should take ‘new approach’ to protecting endangered species: report



tyler.harper@nelsonstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

VIDEO: Saanich resident shocked when trespasser licks security camera, rummages through mail

‘I found the situation really bizarre,’ said the Gordon Head resident

BC Ferries crew member taken to hospital after getting struck by bow doors

Two sailings between Horseshoe Bay and Departure Bay were cancelled

Commercial fisheries off-loading business booming in Port Hardy

Off-loading facilities pack, ice, and load in totes the fish that are caught by commercial fishermen

STRIKE: WFP and USW are back at the table for mediation

“No further updates until either an agreement is reached or one party or the other breaks off talks”

ELECTION 2019: It’s so close, it could come down to who turns out to vote

Black Press Media’s polling analyst on the origins of predictive seat modelling in Canada

Jack’s Devils beat Quinn’s Canucks 1-0 in NHL brother battle

New Jersey youngster scores first career goal against Vancouver

Two charged after owner’s wild ride through Kamloops in his stolen truck

Crystal Rae Dorrington, 37, and Derrick Ronald Pearson, 32, facing multiple charges

Judge orders credit union’s bank records for Kelowna social worker facing theft allegations

The man is accused of negligence, breach of contract, fraud and a conspiracy with Interior Savings

Leaders pour it on with rallies, boosts for candidates as campaign reaches peak

The federal election campaign has reached a crescendo

Allegations of racism lead to ministry investigation at Vancouver private school

St. George’s School was contacted over what the school describes as ‘deeply offensive behaviour online’

Not a political question: Thunberg calls for climate action in Alberta

Edmonton police estimated the size of the crowd at about 4,000

Zantac, the over-the-counter heartburn drug, pulled in Canada, U.S.

Health Canada also investigates possible carcinogen in some ranitidine drugs

B.C. public safety minister says cannabis edibles not in stores til January

Mike Farnworth says he wants regional issues considered when it comes to licensing

Most Read