Mountain Caribou Recovery

Although genetically indistinct, Mountain Caribou are a globally unique population as the world's southernmost Caribou population and the only remaining Caribou that live in rugged, mountainous terrain and feed on arboreal lichens in winter (brochure PDF 308KB). The population has drastically declined over this century, with a sharp decline from about 2500 animals in 1995 to about 1700 in 15 herds today.

The decline of this ecotype is proximally due to high mortality linked to predation and disturbance in the short-term. In the long-term, Mountain caribou are threatened by habitat fragmentation, alteration and loss of old growth forest (for more information on threats to Mountain Caribou, please see background documents below).

In 2005, the Species at Risk Coordination Office (SaRCO), Integrated Land Management Bureau, coordinated the recovery planning for Mountain Caribou. Actions toward recovery planning included:

  • Convening a 14 member independent Mountain Caribou Science Team in 2005 to identify core mountain caribou habitat and the necessary management actions to maintain or recover Mountain Caribou throughout their range (see Science Team documents below);
  • Developing a DRAFT Mountain Caribou Recovery Strategy released in November, 2006, for the purpose of public consultation on Mountain Caribou recovery (see recovery strategy documents below);
  • Engaging other government agencies, environmental groups, community groups, industry and the public in a four month long comprehensive consultation process; and,
  • Developing a cross-agency Mountain Caribou Recovery Implementation Plan based on Science Team results and informed by consultations for decision by provincially-elected officials in summer 2007.

On October 16, 2007, government announced its endorsement of the Mountain Caribou Recovery Implementation Plan (MCRIP) (see news release below). Included among the Province's commitments to Mountain Caribou recovery implementation:

  • Protecting 2.2 million hectares, including 95% of high suitability Mountain Caribou habitat, from logging and road building;
  • Managing recreation to reduce human disturbance in Mountain Caribou habitat;
  • Managing predator and alternate prey populations to reduce predator densities in areas where predation is preventing Mountain Caribou recovery;
  • Increasing Caribou subpopulations by transplanting animals from large to small herd areas;
  • Ensuring that all components of management proceed through a monitoring-based adaptive management framework; and,
  • Instituting a cross-sector progress board in spring 2008 to monitor the effectiveness of recovery efforts.

In fall 2008, SaRCO was transferred from the Integrated Land Management Bureau to the Ministry of Environment (MoE) in order to transition the coordination role to MoE. At the MoE, staff will support the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations with delivering implementation activities to support the MCRIP. For more information on Mountain Caribou recovery, please call (250) 614-9917.

Government would like to thank all participants who provided comments and recommendations during the Mountain Caribou recovery consultation process. We would like to encourage continued support for the recovery of Mountain Caribou as the success of implementation efforts will require the collaboration of all stakeholders.

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Mountain Caribou Recovery Implementation Plan (MCRIP)

Link to PDF Planning Unit
SW Kootenay (PDF 3.85MB) Planning Unit 1A
SE Kootenay (PDF 4.71MB) Planning Unit 1B
South Monashee (PDF 5.76MB) Planning Unit 2A
Central Kootenays (PDF 5.9MB) Planning Unit 2B
Revelstoke - Shuswap (PDF 6.84MB) Planning Unit 3A
Kinbasket (PDF 4MB) Planning Unit 3B
Wells Gray - Thompson (PDF 4.25MB) Planning Unit 4A
Upper Fraser (PDF 4.7MB) Planning Unit 5A
Quesnel Highlands (PDF 5MB) Planning Unit 5B
Hart Ranges (PDF 4MB) Planning Unit 6

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Management Actions (cont.)

Additional Resources