The Central Selkirk herd is now the southern most mountain caribou herd in the world. This herd has experienced dramatic declines over the past 20 years (227 to 25, 89%). Currently an estimated 25 caribou remain. Winter recreation, including heliskiing, cat skiing, and snowmobiling, has been identified as one of the current threats to this herd. Recently this disturbance has been increasing partly because the popularity of snowmobiling has grown over the past decade. Research suggests that disturbance from recreation can result in chronic stress in local caribou and/or displacement of caribou from preferred habitat. Chronic stress, as indicated by elevated levels of stress hormones, can impact the recruitment rate of local populations. The risk posed by unmanaged winter recreation has increased on the Central Selkirks herd and requires action as part of the suite of measures being taken under the provincial Caribou Recovery Initiative. Increasing recruitment and maintaining occupancy of high-quality habitat are essential to this herd’s long-term survival
There has been substantial effort to recovery caribou across much of their range and in the Central Selkirk these efforts include:
Other recovery options
The central Selkirk caribou population has declined 89% (down from 227 to 25 caribou) over the past 20 years. Calf recruitment has been below levels necessary for stable or growing populations for most of the past 10 years.
Causes for the declines include: