What’s next for caribou in the Southern Selkirks herd?

 One of the last members of the Southern Selkirks Mountain Caribou herd, photographed in the fall of 2017.

One of the last members of the Southern Selkirks Mountain Caribou herd, photographed in the fall of 2017.

The Selkirk Caribou International Technical Work Group which includes representatives from various tribes, and wildlife management agencies has just released a draft of the revised management plan for the Southern Selkirks Herd which spans the international boarder between Canada and Idaho and falls within the traditional territory of the Kalispel Tribe of Washington and Kootenai Tribe of Idaho. 

During the past several years while this plan has been in the works, the herd has continued to decline with the most recent census of the herd down to just three animals. In working on the book Caribou Rainforest and the film Last Stand: the Vanishing Caribou Rainforest, this herd played a central role in our narrative because of its status as the last international herd of mountain caribou remaining. 

 The potential loss of this herd could have major impacts on habitat protections in place currently. Last ditch efforts to salvage the herd could be very invasive including renewed predator control activities, large scale removal of alternate prey species, and capture of the remaining caribou for a captive breeding program.

This plan is available for review until  November 30th. Find the plan and directions for submitting comments at: http://restoringthekootenai.org/OtherFWProjects/Caribou/

David Moskowitz

David Moskowitz, Winthrop, WA, 98862