Arrow Lakes Caribou Society Maternity Pen Project
· Arrow Lakes Caribou Society (ALCS) envisions transparent, cooperative, collaborative, and evidence-based land use planning for caribou recovery that is sensitive to the values and needs of affected communities.
· ALCS is a local organization focused on the recovery of the Central Selkirk subpopulation of Woodland Caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou).
· ALCS has facilitated communication between local user groups, government agencies, and other organizations. ALCS contends that many land use decisions are better informed by considering both science and local knowledge.
· If the population continues to decline at the current rate and without immediate action, the herd will dwindle to non-recoverable numbers and will be extirpated in the near future.
· All possible management strategies, including maternity penning, must be implemented immediately in order to halt population decline.
· ALCS has developed the maternity penning project in the Central Selkirk Mountains near Nakusp, BC to couple with other recovery strategies.
Project Details and Outcomes
· Maternity penning must be aligned with other caribou management strategies to reduce the decline of the Central Selkirk herd. The pen would be a multi-year project in cooperation with provincial and local governments.
· The maternity pen would reduce environmental pressures on pregnant caribou cows and calves, improve overall survival, and help to release healthy cows and calves into native habitat.
· Successful outcomes of this project would be fundamental in reversing the rapid downward population trend of the Central Selkirk caribou subpopulation.
· The maternity penning project would support community empowerment through partnerships and a collective effort to improve the local and regional environment.
· There would be opportunities for community engagement through volunteer work, stakeholder involvement, education sessions, scientific research, and public reports.
Project Timing and Urgency
· Pen construction started in January 2020, prior to significant snow accumulation. The maternity pen, located in the Kuskanax Creek area, near Nakusp Hot Springs, will be a safe environment for female caribou to bare and raise their calves, away from predators. Capture for the project will occur in the winter, and the caribou will then be released with their calves in July when the calves are three to five weeks old.
· The alternative of waiting another year to begin the project is that it may be too late for recovery.
· ALCS has received in-kind donations and is in the process of applying for multiple large grants to fund the recovery program.
· The timing of grant funding approval does not align with the timing window for maternity pen construction because of snowpack concerns during construction.
· ALCS has also started a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds to purchase maternity pen construction materials and pay for equipment rentals and labour to build the maternity pen.
For more information on maternity penning projects:
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Organizer and beneficiary
Arrow Lakes Caribou Society (ALCS)
Arrow Lakes Caribou Society