6.1 Caribou Health and Science



Science and Research

A substantial catalogue of scientific research on caribou management has been amassed over the span of decades, both in British Columbia and elsewhere in Canada. B.C. continues to invest significant resources in projects in many areas of caribou science. Our science and research program will bring forward existing research, and invest in new science to inform caribou recovery and management and support all other components of the caribou recovery program.

We plan to develop a Strategic Science Plan to support caribou recovery, and envision establishing a Provincial Caribou Science Committee made up of biologists from across the province. The committee will work with regional staff to set objectives for caribou science and research.

Health

Population size and good habitat are factors important in caribou recovery. We also need to better understand caribou health to help preserve and protect the species.

Improved wildlife health monitoring will strengthen our  future herd management decisions. The B.C. Wildlife Health Program will develop standardized sample collection methods from live and dead animals to provide reliable data.

A new formal caribou health research program that is under development will directly support and complement  ongoing caribou management and conservation work. The research will help us understand the impacts of various stressors on caribou health, and shed light on how health and genetics can affect the strength of caribou   herds.

Finally, our vision is to create a Centre of Excellence for caribou health and genetic/genomic research, and lead the development of innovative methods of capturing general and specific measures of caribou  health.

16 responses to “6.1 Caribou Health and Science

    User avatar
    [-] Bryce

    This is all great, however, we need to get moving with the science we already have. All that science points to better management of habitat will lead to a great chance of survival for the caribou across their range!

    User avatar
    [-] Bryce

    Population size is critical in determining if a herd has a good chance of survival. Maternal penning has proven to be helpful in this regard when a herd's numbers are getting too low.
    As for health. All the studies i have read indicate the vast majority of animals that have died either of natural causes, or been predated on, and the remains studied, has found good health. The problem is more often than not, simply a case of increased depredation. This increase in predation has come about from changes to their habitat & the predator/prey balance.

    User avatar
    [-] Lloyd

    a lot is said by "Victoria" , but unless the talk is backed by proper funding the last caribou will die while I am still living…I'm 78 !

    User avatar
    [-] Bronwen

    Properly funded and legislated recovery plans should incorporate expertise of independent scientists
    and Indigenous traditional knowledge.

    User avatar
    [-] Maryann

    Properly funded and legislated recovery plans should incorporate expertise of independent scientists and Indigenous traditional knowledge.

    User avatar
    [-] Amos

    I have been guiding in Spatzizi now for three years and I've noticed population decline! I'm just hoping this money the government has allotted for this gets spent wisely! One thing is for sure in the spatzizi is the predictor population is doing very well while the caribou suffer

    User avatar
    [-] Shannon

    Properly funded and legislated recovery plans should incorporate expertise of independent scientists and Indigenous traditional knowledge. The information is available. Studies have been done over years. Collate this information and respect the indigenous knowledge to help movement forward quickly.

    User avatar
    [-] Christina

    I agree with Bryce, Bronwen and Shannon — please use the existing research and expertise of independent scientists and indigenous traditional knowledge in the recovery plans.

    User avatar
    [-] Brian

    While there has been a substantial amount of studies and science collected many questions remain unanswered. Here in the south the biggest problem is recruitment. We know the caribou are getting bred (a 90% pregnancy rate) calves are being born but the calves are not surviving the first year. There is no substantial data outlining the actual causes of calf mortality in the first year. Theories have been presented but no conclusive answer to this issue. We need to be sure that the science is answering questions that need answers and the money is not wasted doing studies that give no new or useful information.

    User avatar
    [-] Yvonne

    Indigenous traditional knowledge and the expertise of independent scientists must be included in recovery plans.

    User avatar
    [-] SB

    Let’s have input from independent scientists and indigenous peoples.

    User avatar
    [-] Jennifer

    In addition to the existing research, the caribou recovery plan should also incorporate the expertise of Indigenous traditional knowledge holders and independent scientists.

    User avatar
    [-] Disa

    Include and incorporate expertise gained from independent scientists and Indigenous traditional knowledge.

    User avatar
    [-] Scott

    We’ve spent decades amassing information. Time is running short. We must now turn our focus to applying this knowledge and executing significantly-effective solutions. Leverage the local knowledge we already possess, as well as what has worked in other places like Alaska and Sweden. Don’t waste money reinventing the wheel.

    User avatar
    [-] Scott

    Apply best management practices to distance of helicopter flight above known caribou areas such as those used in the case of mountain goats. Similarly, any human activity that disturbs caribou or increases predator efficiency, i.e., snowmobile activity, needs to be limited.

    User avatar
    [-] Mark

    Caribou research needs to be provincially funded but run out of one of the province's universities. Caribou research and decision making needs to be at arms length from politicians. Science and the Caribou recovery committee needs to be outside government and given a legal mandate.

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