- Mountain Caribou are at risk of extinction. 98% of the global population of caribou lives in B.C. The current population is about 1,500, in 15 separate herds throughout B.C.
- The threats to Mountain Caribou survival are loss of habitat and wolf predation.
- The South Selkirk caribou herd is at high risk of local extinction. The population has declined from 49 in 2009 to 27 in 2012 to 12 today. Evidence points to wolves being the leading cause of mortality.
- In four caribou herds in the South Peace (Quintette, Moberly, Scott and Kennedy-Siding), populations are also decreasing and wolves are a key factor. At least 37% of all adult deaths are due to wolves.
- The government has set aside caribou habitat from industrial activity and recreational activities, such as snowmobiling. Altogether 2.2 million hectares of habitat are protected throughout the province. Over 108,000 hectares in the South Selkirk, and over 400,000 hectares of habitat are protected in the South Peace.
- Habitat protection and recovery efforts will continue.
- In January 2015, the government made the difficult decision and took the extraordinary action to remove wolves in the South Selkirk and South Peace.
- The reason for this decision is to save the Mountain Caribou herds in these areas. Aerial wolf removal is occurring only in these two areas.
- The wolf removal program was repeated in the winter of 2016. While based on results for only 2 years, the removal of wolves in the South Peace treatment area appears to have increased survival rates for calves released from the Klinsa Za maternal penning project operating in that area.
- After five years, the project will be evaluated.
- The wolf population in B.C. is stable to increasing. Grey wolves are not an endangered or threatened species. The estimated median population of wolves is 8,500.
News release and backgrounders: https://news.gov.bc.ca/stories/government-acting-to-save-endangered-caribou
Mountain Caribou Recovery Implementation Plan: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/wld/speciesconservation/mc/