Letter: Habitat protection, not pens, key for caribou survival

Valhalla Wilderness Society says habitat protection needs to be priority to protect mountain caribou.

Editor,

Thank you for your article on the Valhalla Wilderness Society’s (VWS’s) call for an expert review of maternal penning of caribou in B.C. VWS appreciates how transparent Revelstoke Caribou Rearing in the Wild (RCRW) has been regarding its project, particularly with regards to the deaths in the pen this year.

Our concern comes from how critically endangered mountain caribou are. VWS calls on the B.C. and federal governments to fulfill their legal obligations towards protecting these endangered animals.

We doubt that killing predators or “protecting” caribou in pens will halt the decline of the caribou, because other factors are also at work in the decline.

The RCRW has publicly acknowledged on the CBC that high mortality of the caribou released from the pen in 2014 could have been due to unusual fluctuations in winter weather. This would have forced them to stay longer down low, in their early winter habitat. VWS believes this likely did happen.

But how would that have killed caribou? If the lower elevation habitat is gone because of clear cuts and logging roads, the caribou can suffer habitat displacement, resulting in poor nutrition and energetic stress, as well as increased predation.

Predators may take some caribou, but most importantly, cows in poor condition by spring may abort their young, or calves may be stillborn, or small and weak. This could contribute to the population decline.

This would not be a good time to chase heavily pregnant cows with helicopters. After giving birth they have extra heavy energy demands because they are providing milk to the calves.

Maternity penning and predator control are costing the taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars, but the efforts are being undermined by clear cuts, roads and motorized winter recreation that are still ongoing.

Wherever there are substantial tracts of old-growth forest in caribou habitat that are not yet protected, they should be preserved right away from any human encroachment, which will serve the caribou as well as other wildlife and flora.

Anne Sherrod,

Valhalla Wilderness Society

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Revelstoke Fire Rescue Services douses house fire Aug. 7

Investigators say probable cause was an unattended barbecue

UFO trackers set their sights on Revelstoke skies

Rob Freeman UFO World Explorer and crew went up Sale Mountain

Updated: Molotov cocktails thrown at Revelstoke home in arson attempt

The flames were extinguished before they spread. Two men have been arrested.

QUIZ: Do you know the truth?

In what has been described as a post-truth era, how much do you know about truth and lies?

EDITORIAL: Managing wildfires

Wildfires have the potential to cause significant damage within our province

B.C. records 30-50 new COVID-19 cases a day over weekend, no new deaths

Many of those testing positive were identified by contact tracing for being linked to other confirmed infections

Five B.C. First Nations call out Canada for ‘discriminatory’ food fish practices

West Coast nations say government ignoring court-won right to chinook and coho

No new COVID-19 cases in Kelowna over the weekend

Kelowna has nine of the Interior Health region’s 13 active cases

Rent-relief program becomes new front in fight between Liberals, opposition

Opposition trying to draw parallels between decision to have Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. run program and the WE controversy

West Kelowna woman upset with RCMP response to street brawl

A physical altercation between a group of teens and a group of adults erupted on a West Kelowna street Sunday evening

Kelowna real estate agent fined $6,500 for ‘misleading’ website

The website listed several services its owner was not licensed to provide

Ottawa sets minimum unemployment rate at 13.1% for EI calculation

Statistics Canada says the unemployment rate was 10.9 per cent in July

$45K in donations received after couple’s sudden death in Tulameen

Sarah MacDermid, 31, and Casey Bussiere, 37, died August long weekend

Most Read