After 28 days searching for mountain caribou, exploring the places they call home, or have recently disappeared from, here is a summary of some of what I discovered:
- Caribou do not mind getting their feet wet, and you better not either if you want to go where they go.
- If you are in mountain caribou habitat, there is a pretty good chance you are either getting harassed by mosquitos, enduring a cold wet summer storm, or both.
- There are a lot of long logging roads in western Canada and if you are going to find mountain caribou, it will likely be all the way at the end of them, where clear cuts give way to the last stands of uncut forest at the tops of mountain valley and along ridge-lines.
- The threats to mountain caribou are varied across their range and even huge national parks and provincial preserves are not necessarily effective by themselves to protect these animals.
- Climate change is here now. The effects of climate change are readily apparent already in many places where mountain caribou live.
- Doing nothing is doing something, but perhaps not the something we want to do. Without landscape level conservation measures and ongoing agressive management of caribou and other species of wildlife caribou are ecologically connected to, mountain caribou will likely disappear very soon from much of their current range, as they already have from many places they recently existed. Much of this management is controversial and/or highly invasive to the wildlife and the humans who live, work, and play in caribou habitat including things like culling moose and deer populations, killing entire packs of wolves, landscape scale cessation of logging and or oil and gas mining activity which is the basis of the regional economy, restrictions on winter recreation activities, also an important regional revenue stream.