The Woodland caribou numbers have been found to be declining across Canada. One of the places includes Jasper National Park, home of Mt Robson Mountain River Lodge. This is why recently Parks Canada have been working hard to reduce threats and come up with a definitive conservation strategy.
In Jasper National Park experts say there could be as little as 100 Mountain Caribou left. The last sensus was in 1988 and there were about 175 so there has been a decline in numbers.
Woodland Caribou are different from most caribou
The caribou that you learn about growing up, which in most cases are barren-ground caribou in large herds, migratory animals, moving to the coast to calve, and then back are different from the Woodland Caribou. Woodland Caribou live below the treeline most of the time and don’t live in large herds or move to the coast to calve.
There are five threats to the Woodland Caribou:
1) Altered predator prey dynamics. What happens is there is a overpopulation of Elk which provides an abundant food source to wolves, and the wolves then eat the Caribou which are out numbered.
2) Increased predator access. The Caribou create this safety zone between the wolves, when humans create tracks that go into Caribou habitat it makes it easier for wolves to access the Caribou.
3) Human interaction. Traffic accidents have caused a number of Caribou deaths within the park, speed zones have been set to help solve this problem. Also when people are hiking in Caribou habitiat sometimes they will run great distances from people landing them in a zone where they may be unsafe.
4) And the fourth threat is habitat loss. It is not as much of an issue within the park because logging is not allowed, yet things like fire can be a threat by changing the habitat for Caribou. Outside the National Park there are habitat changes such as cut blocks, pipelines, and seismic lines.
5) The fifth threat is small population size. For example, the entire Bamff heard was lost in just one avalanche. Every animal is precious in this small population of Caribou.
Want to get involved?
Parks Canada Caribou
Jasper National Park
P.O. Box 10