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Columbia South caribou herd extirpated after lone remaining female moved to maternity pen

For the third year in a row, a caribou herd near Revelstoke has been extirpated

Another caribou herd near Revelstoke has been declared extirpated after the lone remaining caribou in the herd was rescued and relocated.

The South Columbia caribou herd population has been decreasing every year, and since the winter of 2021-2022, was down to one remaining female caribou according to Mount Revelstoke and Glacier National Parks.

Parks Canada, alongside the Revelstoke Complex and Central Selkirks Caribou Technical Working Group (RCCSC), recognized the caribou’s low chance of survival on its own with no chance of having calves and decided to move her to the Central Selkirk maternity pen near Nakusp.

READ MORE: Arrow Lake Caribou Society prepares for year two of caribou maternity

The Central Selkirk maternity pen is operated by the Arrow Lakes Caribou Society (ALCS).

The maternity pen is 10 km northeast of Nakusp on the Kuskanax Forest Service Road, which will be closed to the public from March 23 to April 10 while caribou are adjusting to the pen.

The society is preparing for its second year of operating the pen, a recovery effort for the Central Selkirk herd of Southern Mountain Woodland Caribou.

Unfortunately, now that this particular caribou has been removed from the region, the South Columbia herd is now extirpated.

This is just another on the list of eradicated herds in the region over the last few years. In 2022, the Frisby-Boulder caribou herd was pronounced ‘functionally extirpated’. The Frisby Ridge area was stewarded by the Revelstoke Snowmobile Club for over a decade, however recovery operations could not save the herd. The Monashee caribou herd was also functionally extirpated back in 2016.

“The challenges facing caribou recovery are numerous and our success will depend on our ability to work together and create innovative solutions,” said Parks Canada in a press release.

Parks Canada added that they hope to see caribou return to the Columbia South region one day through the collaborative work being done by the Revelstoke Complex and Central Selkirks Caribou Technical Working Group representatives including seven First Nations and the provincial and federal governments.

READ MORE: Frisby Ridge caribou closure north of Revelstoke repealed


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