Southern Mountain Caribou. Photo: David Moskotwitz, Mountain Caribou Initiative.

LETTER: Bureaucracies may be the greatest threat to the caribou

Habitat needs immediate, extensive protection and closures

The April 13 Star article https://www.nelsonstar.com/local-news/new-caribou-census-data-shows-dire-situation-across-b-c/, does not fully reveal just how dire the situation is for the Southern Mountain Caribou population of B.C. because the total population number of 3,800 cited in the article includes Southern Mountain Caribou herds in Alberta. The total population count for Southern Mountain Caribou commonly used by wildlife biologists in B.C is only 1,300 – 1,400.

There are a number of other reasons for this discrepancy, and they are part off the core failures of Mountain Caribou policy and recovery efforts. The federal and provincial governments do their own separate population counts, rather than cooperating on one, and they use different herds from differently defined Mountain Caribou ecotypes, thus arriving at total population counts which differ. No wonder the Southern Mountain Caribou are in trouble.

Regardless of this parsing, a perilous population decline from 4,500 to 3,800 in one year is nothing to shrug off. Not only does Mountain Caribou habitat need immediate, extensive protection and closures as called for in the article, for that alone is not enough, it is also essential that immediate, dramatically increased, and sustained funding be provided for monitoring of and recovery work with individual herds.

For the past four years, as a U.S. citizen and former resident of B.C., I have worked and communicated with First Nations, numerous government agencies, and wildlife organizations trying to save the South Selkirk international herd, now down to only three animals. The herd not only ranges in B.C., but are also the very last caribou ranging in the 48 states.

From my perspective, the tragic decline of the South Selkirk herd this past year, is a direct result the lack of adequate commitment and cooperation by B.C. FLNRO, Environment and Climate Change Canada, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. I often think that bureaucracies are the greatest threat to the survival of all caribou.

Though I am heartbroken, as are many working for the survival of the South Selkirk herd, there are ways forward so that these last three herd members will not just disappear forever, but that will take vastly improved efforts. We will not quit them.

Nelson B.C. is in the northwestern corner of the South Selkirk herd’s range, so their complete loss would be a direct loss to the citizens of Nelson as well.

Jake Billingsley

Llano, Texas

Just Posted

Avalanche Canada issues special public warning

Very weak layer buried under recent snow a cause for concern

Nelson, Salmo councils decline to contribute to preservation of Cottonwood forest

The decisions have effectively stalled negotiations between the RDCK and the landowner, Kootenay Land Corporation

KBRH on watch for bed bugs after two recent cases

Spokesperson Mandy Lowery says there has not been a bed bug sighting at KBRH since Dec. 8

Coffee card donations return at Wait’s News

The program supplied over 200 cards last year

Trafalgar students build home for sanctuary horse

Grade 8 students collaborated on a project with a local farm sanctuary

VIDEO: Royals reveal the images on their Christmas cards

Prince William and his wife Kate are shown outside in casual clothes, their three young children in tow

Media, robotics, Indigenous studies coming to B.C. Grade 12 classrooms in 2019-20

Provincial tests are also being changed for students in Grade 10 to 12, the Education Ministry said

ICBC to apply for 6.3% hike to basic insurance rates

Crown Corporation said it will be submitting its next basic rate application to the British Columbia Utilities Commission Friday

Stranded B.C. trucker writes final wishes before being rescued 3 days later

‘I was just praying someone would come along’

Canfor Corp. extending temporary curtailment of sawmills in B.C.; cutting hours

Vancouver-based company says the decision is due to declining lumber prices, high log costs and log supply constraints

Canada’s prospective world junior team members await final roster decisions

Thirty-four players were invited to the national junior selection camp

Final phase of Kelowna hospital cardiac centre completed

Finishing new recovery rooms marks completion of $381 million project

Family searching for B.C. professor last seen at Colombian salsa club

Ramazan Gencay, a professor in economics at Simon Fraser University, was last seen in Medellin

Rash of bomb threats a learning opportunity for response capacity, Goodale

Thursday’s wave of bomb threats swept across communities on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border

Most Read