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

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

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Victoria Flamenco Festival goes virtual for 2020 event

The show will go online from July 23 to 26

Metchosin bird card project finds its wings

On display at Metchosin ArtPod from July 10 to 12

UVic research team creating virus-resistant washbasins for post-pandemic world

Civil engineer Rishi Gupta hopes basins will be installed in public spaces

Walk for Peace takes a virtual turn for Victoria Hospice

Residents can still register for Gordy Dodd’s 11th annual fundraiser

United Way Greater Victoria launches Hi Neighbour program in Esquimalt

Feedback sought from residents about funding for micro community projects

B.C. accommodators need phone lines to light up as in-province travel given green light

Travel restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic have decimated the tourism and hospitality industries

300 Cache Creek residents on evacuation alert due to flood risk as river rises

Heavy rainfall on Canada Day has river rising steadily, threatening 175 properties

First glimpse of Canada’s true COVID-19 infection rate expected mid-July

At least 105,000 Canadians have tested positive for COVID-19 since the coronavirus was identified

Annual music event in Comox Valley celebrates online instead

Vancouver Island MusicFest holds virtual celebration set for July 10

Police ramp up efforts to get impaired drivers off B.C. roads this summer

July is dedicated to the Summer CounterAttack Impaired Driving Campaign

Migrant workers stage multi-city action for full status amid COVID-19 risks

‘COVID-19 has exacerbated an existing crisis’

Okanagan school drops ‘Rebels’ sports team name, citing links with U.S. Civil War

Name and formerly-used images “fly in the face” of the district’s human rights policy, says board chair

PHOTOS: B.C.’s top doc picks up personalized Fluevog shoes, tours mural exhibition

Murals of Gratitude exhibit includes at least one portrait of Henry alongside paintings of health-care workers

In troubled times: Independence Day in a land of confusion

Buffeted by invisible forces and just plain worn out, the United States of America celebrates its 244th birthday

Most Read