6.3 Penning

British Columbia currently has several active maternity penning projects: one near Revelstoke, one near Creston, and another in the Northeast at Klinse-Za; each are operated through partnerships and receive funding from a variety of sources.

Maternity penning has both advocates and critics who bring different viewpoints on the overall benefits to caribou recovery that come from this activity.

On the positive side, maternity pens generally increase caribou numbers immediately, and are less controversial than wolf control. They provide opportunities for partnership and collaboration with First Nations.

However, maternity pens are costly and labour intensive. Effectiveness is governed by habitat availability and the herd size.

Alternatively, Alberta is working on an innovative penning approach, which is also under consideration for a pilot project in B.C. The large fenced “exclosure” concept involves the construction of very large fenced areas (up to 100 km2) where caribou can exist on a semi-permanent basis, protected from predators.

Since much has yet to be learned about the impacts and consequences of this type of penning, the first steps will involve research into best practices, costs, and benefits in order to refine performance indicators for expected outcomes.

10 responses to “6.3 Penning

    User avatar
    [-] Douglas

    The situation with caribou is desperate enough that BC and the federal government need to go beyond maternity penning and invest in a state-of-the-art captive breeding facility to provide animals to multiple herds.

    User avatar
    [-] Lindi

    Given the Roosevelt Elk herd of Vancouver Island has diminished to 3 Elk [three] it can be assumed that a breeding program in captivity is needed which would include penning, supplementing diets, protection from any and all threats followed by a reserve area. The biggest problem for this herd has been poachers and traffic fatalities.
    It would be beneficial and advantageous to install wildlife fencing on the inland island highway as well as wildlife crossovers / bridges such as the ones constructed at Banff National Park to alleviate those numbers of Elk killed by vehicles. Most poaching here was performed on First Nations land so educating the public and especially indigenous groups is paramount to the success of recovery of the Roosevelt Elk herd of Vancouver Island …… we must save what we can of this herd and now.

    User avatar
    [-] Randy

    Look ,when it gets to the point that you are considering this shows you how laughable this provinces management practices have been and continue to be.

    User avatar
    [-] Monica

    Why not set up something analogous to the carbon tax which says, in a nutshell, if you want to contribute to GHG emissions you pay into a fund for mitigation measures. So if someone wants to extract resources in such a way that habitat is disrupted, then they pay to provide for these measures to protect affected species. Far more constructive, and probably more effective in the long term, than killing more animals.

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    [-] Alex

    Given the crisis the ecotype is in, I think we should expect recovery to be costly and labour intensive. I hope the province continues with the existing maternity pens as long as they are working and implements new pens for other herds.

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    [-] Jared

    Maternal pens are only one small piece of the pie. For maximum effectiveness these need to be done in conjunction with predator control and habitat restoration. Lets move to where we can grow a herd that no longer needs such a costly operation. I recognize they have a place based on the herd size but other management levers should be pulled in order to expedite recovery and remove the need for maternal pens long term.

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    [-] Victor

    View maternal penning as an interim step but not supportive over the long run due to cost, a lack of scalability, animal health related concerns and devilling.

    User avatar
    [-] Sarah

    Cost should never be a factor when it comes to recovering ecosystem; whatever/whomever is the cause of ecosystems getting harmed must also be the solution for paying for it's recovery. This is not to say that having that pay-for-use system in place means industries or organisations can have at it so long as the pay the bill to recover, but rather that those who have caused harm thus far need to be paying to recover in FULL using the methods that are independently determined and scientifically based as the best option, and that going forward industries and organisations simply can't cause impact to species at risk.

    User avatar
    [-] Scott

    Are we investing vast resources simply to delay the inevitable? If we’re only serving to make the predator’s next meal a bit larger, more filling and less instinctually-capable of escape, what have we gained? Sounds more like a predator feeding program than a prey recovery program.
    $350,00 per year over 15 years to realize an increase of seven caribou. Are the costs of this program even coming close to the population gains being achieved?

    User avatar
    [-] Lorna

    The logic of habitat availability for pens is sadly backwards.
    Put a moratorium on industry of all kinds (including recreational and tourism) in current habitat and create protected areas.

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