The last known caribou in the South Selkirks has been relocated to Revelstoke, along with two others from the Purcell herd. File photo

Caribou herd disappears from Kootenays after last cow relocated

One cow from the South Selkirk herd and two from the Purcells were moved this week

Three caribou from soon-to-be extinct herds in the southern Selkirk and Purcell mountains have been relocated to Revelstoke.

Leo DeGroot, a wildlife biologist for the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources, said two cows and one bull caribou were captured Monday and taken to maternity pens in Revelstoke with the intention of releasing them later this year.

DeGroot said the ministry conceived the plan last August as a way of giving the animals a better chance of survival in a region with the larger Columbia North caribou herd.

“The females will contribute to a breeding population where there’s males around, so there’s an advantage to moving them to bolster another population.”

News of the relocation first spread Monday when a Facebook user posted a picture of a ministry trailer containing caribou that was parked at a gas station in Salmo.

DeGroot said a census last March found just three cows in the Selkirk herd, while the Purcell herd had three bulls and a cow. All seven were collared in April, but according to DeGroot one Selkirk cow was killed by a cougar while the other went missing because of a malfunctioning collar.

That left just one cow — the last caribou alive that ranged in both Canada and the United States — remaining in the South Selkirks.

“It’s really sad to see them go,” said DeGroot. “For me, personally as well, my last 16 years of work has been with these animals and seeing them disappear is discouraging.”

The captured caribou are being kept at the site of the Revelstoke Caribou Rearing in the Wild project, which protected pregnant cows and calves from predators until they were ready to be released. The project technically ended in 2018, but DeGroot said the site will be used temporarily by the ministry.

“The calves are protected from predators during their most vulnerable first month of life, and they also end up in better condition because they’re fed in the pen,” he said.

“They’re fed a green mix, which is more nutritious than their natural food. So they are also released from the pen in better shape [and] better body condition.”

DeGroot said the ministry has not yet decided what to do with the two remaining bulls in the Purcells. The size of the animals, he said, makes them difficult to move, and only one dominant male is needed for the breeding process.

The relocated caribou, meanwhile, could stay in their pen under observation until June.

Related:

Mountain caribou expert to speak in Nelson

Caribou maternity pen project nears its end by Revelstoke

B.C. petition to end wolf cull submitted to province

B.C. should take ‘new approach’ to protecting endangered species: report



tyler.harper@nelsonstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Vernon bylaw officer best in B.C.

Al Harrison named Bylaw Officer of the Year at annual association conference

Vernon council waits on fence as report prepared

Council to get information on cost of erecting fence for off-leash dog area at Marshall Field

Vernon Transit enjoys stellar year

Ridership up over tier average, says BC Transit representative

Biker airlifted from Vernon mountain resort

22-year-old injured at SilverStar Mountain Resort

Inaugural KidSport Greater Vernon golf tourney raises $18,000

Event raises single largest fundraising amount for Greater Vernon KidSport

Video shows fireworks shot at swan in Alberta

Alberta Fish and Wildlife is investigating the incident in Grande Prairie

Man accused of assault at South Okanagan beach gets bail

Thomas Brayden Kruger-Allen was granted bail at the Penticton provincial courthouse on Monday

‘Text neck’ causing bone spurs to grow from millennials’ skulls, researchers say

Technology use from early childhood causing abnormal bone growths in 41 per cent of young adults

B.C. teen killed by fallen tree on field trip remembered as hero

13-year-old Tai Caverhill was the first to spot the tree falling and warned his friends

Surrey RCMP raises Pride flag amid din of protesters

There were about 30 protesters on either side, and 20 Mounties doing crowd control

Should B.C. get rid of Daylight Saving Time?

The province wants to know, as state governments down south make the move

Air Canada reviewing how crew left sleeping passenger on parked plane

In a Facebook post, the woman said she woke up ‘all alone’ on a ‘cold dark’ aircraft

Canadians crash out of Women’s World Cup in 0-1 loss to Sweden

Canada missed a chance to tie the game on a penalty shot

Four-year-old boy assaulted at B.C. soccer game

It happened at a weekend tournament in Ashcroft

Most Read