DATE: September 16
SNIP: Caribou populations in Jasper National Park are in deep trouble.
Of three southern mountain woodland caribou herds managed by Parks Canada, one — the Maligne herd — is now considered extirpated, or locally extinct, while the other two are dangerously small, according to the Jasper National Park’s Species at Risk report.
Worse, neither of those herds has enough breeding females to be able to grow the herds, a situation that has an Alberta wilderness society calling for swift action.
“The Tonquin is estimated to have about 45 caribou left only, the Brazeau less than 15. And a key thing for caribou is the number of breeding females,” said Carolyn Campbell, a conservation specialist for the Calgary-based Alberta Wilderness Association.
“In each case, unfortunately, these two populations have 10 or less breeding females. That means they cannot grow any bigger and they’re very vulnerable to sudden disasters or setbacks.”
Caribou have one calf per season.
Three aerial surveys of the Maligne Valley conducted in 2018 and 2019 failed to locate caribou tracks or animals, the annual report stated. It says the Tonquin and Brazeau herds are “too small to recover on their own.”