Caribou Conservation Breeding Proposal

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Caribou herds in Jasper National Park are at risk

Caribou have roamed the peaks and valleys of what is now Jasper National Park for millennia. They rely on the vast and undisturbed habitat found in the mountains and forests of the Rocky Mountains. Records show that there were several herds with hundreds of animals throughout most of the 1900s. But over the last fifty years, those numbers have become drastically lower. The Banff and Maligne herds have disappeared. Today, the Tonquin herd has an estimated 55 animals and the Brazeau herd has less than 15. With very few reproductive females in the park, the survival of these small caribou herds is precarious.

Without intervention, the Tonquin and Brazeau herds will eventually disappear from Jasper National Park


Parks Canada envisions a future with caribou herds that can thrive on their own

Parks Canada is proposing a conservation breeding strategy to rebuild small caribou herds in Jasper National Park. The park provides a unique, protected space where southern mountain caribou herds may have the best chance of recovery and long-term survival. With continued action by Parks Canada to minimize threats to caribou, the existing ecological conditions in the park can support larger caribou populations. By rebuilding the dwindling herds of caribou in Jasper National Park, we can ensure the continued existence of some of the world’s southernmost caribou.

A conservation breeding program is the best option to rebuild small caribou herds in Jasper National Park


Proposal for Consultation: Conservation breeding strategy to rebuild small caribou herds in Jasper National Park


Why is caribou recovery in Jasper important?

Southern mountain caribou is one of six species identified by the Government of Canada as a priority for conservation action. This priority status is based on their ecological, social, and cultural value to Canadians, and because their recovery can significantly support other species at risk and overall biodiversity within the ecosystems they inhabit.

More information can be found at parkscanada.gc.ca/caribou-jasper


We want to hear from you!

Please click on each of the tabs below (Ideas, Forum, Stories, Questions) to more learn about the proposed conservation breeding program. The full proposal is also available online and can be downloaded.

Then join the discussion. Let us know your ideas or any comments you have on each of the different elements of the proposal in the Forum.


Caribou herds in Jasper National Park are at risk

Caribou have roamed the peaks and valleys of what is now Jasper National Park for millennia. They rely on the vast and undisturbed habitat found in the mountains and forests of the Rocky Mountains. Records show that there were several herds with hundreds of animals throughout most of the 1900s. But over the last fifty years, those numbers have become drastically lower. The Banff and Maligne herds have disappeared. Today, the Tonquin herd has an estimated 55 animals and the Brazeau herd has less than 15. With very few reproductive females in the park, the survival of these small caribou herds is precarious.

Without intervention, the Tonquin and Brazeau herds will eventually disappear from Jasper National Park


Parks Canada envisions a future with caribou herds that can thrive on their own

Parks Canada is proposing a conservation breeding strategy to rebuild small caribou herds in Jasper National Park. The park provides a unique, protected space where southern mountain caribou herds may have the best chance of recovery and long-term survival. With continued action by Parks Canada to minimize threats to caribou, the existing ecological conditions in the park can support larger caribou populations. By rebuilding the dwindling herds of caribou in Jasper National Park, we can ensure the continued existence of some of the world’s southernmost caribou.

A conservation breeding program is the best option to rebuild small caribou herds in Jasper National Park


Proposal for Consultation: Conservation breeding strategy to rebuild small caribou herds in Jasper National Park


Why is caribou recovery in Jasper important?

Southern mountain caribou is one of six species identified by the Government of Canada as a priority for conservation action. This priority status is based on their ecological, social, and cultural value to Canadians, and because their recovery can significantly support other species at risk and overall biodiversity within the ecosystems they inhabit.

More information can be found at parkscanada.gc.ca/caribou-jasper


We want to hear from you!

Please click on each of the tabs below (Ideas, Forum, Stories, Questions) to more learn about the proposed conservation breeding program. The full proposal is also available online and can be downloaded.

Then join the discussion. Let us know your ideas or any comments you have on each of the different elements of the proposal in the Forum.

Discussions: All (6) Open (0)
  • Building a conservation breeding centre

    5 months ago
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    Planning sketch of the proposed conservation breeding facility.To establish a conservation breeding program, Parks Canada will need to build a breeding centre (with a large fenced area and a variety of pens and buildings) where a captive herd can live and raise young caribou until they are ready for release into the wild. Parks Canada proposes locating the facility along the Geraldine Fire Road, 30 kilometres south of the Jasper townsite. This site is considered the preferred location because: 

    • it is relatively quiet, with low human disturbance
    • close to typical caribou habitat
    • away from large concentrations of other wild ungulates and entirely separate from domestic livestock that may carry contagious diseases
    • relatively close to source sites for wild caribou and release of captive-raised caribou
    • relatively close to utilities and services required to run the facility
    • accessible to Parks Canada staff and specialists from the Jasper townsite

    For more information, click here.

    Do you have any comments or concerns about the proposed location of the breeding centre?

    Do you have recommendations for avoiding or mitigating these concerns?

    Replies Closed
  • Capturing source animals

    5 months ago
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    To form a captive breeding herd, Parks Canada proposes capturing a small number of wild caribou from regional “source” herds and bringing them to live in a conservation breeding facility in Jasper. Parks Canada is considering rescuing the remaining animals from the Brazeau, capturing some animals from the Tonquin, and some from other regional herds in Alberta or British Columbia. Capture would take place over several years and ensure that the wild herds are not negatively affected.

    The goal is to obtain caribou from source herds with the closest genetic and behavioural match to the wild herds where the animals will be released. Research is ongoing to inform this. Risks associated with the capture, handling, and transport would be mitigated by employing established best practices from other caribou capture, rearing, and translocation programs.

    Additional research and conversations with regional partners, particularly the provinces of Alberta and British Columbia, are needed before any final decisions are made. 

    For more information, click here.

    Do you have any comments or concerns about removing caribou from southern mountain caribou herds in Alberta and British Columbia? For example, the Brazeau, Tonquin, À la Pêche, or Columbia North caribou herds.

    Do you have any comments or concerns about the process of capturing and moving wild caribou into captivity?

    Do you have recommendations for avoiding or mitigating these concerns?

    Replies Closed
  • Breeding caribou

    5 months ago
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    To produce young caribou that can be added to the wild population, Parks Canada proposes establishing a healthy breeding herd of caribou in a conservation breeding facility in Jasper. Intensive management of the breeding herd will be required. Animals in the facility will require feeding, water, and care for their health and wellbeing. The young caribou that will be released each year will not be around humans as much – the goal is to keep them as wild as possible.

    Conservation Breeding Cycle

     

    Planning sketch for the proposed conservation breeding facility

     

    For more information, click here.

     

    Do you have any comments or concerns about breeding caribou in a facility?

    Do you have recommendations for avoiding or mitigating these concerns?

    Replies Closed
  • Releasing caribou into wild herds

    5 months ago
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    To increase the population size of the Tonquin herd to be self-sustaining, Parks Canada proposes releasing young caribou born in the facility into the Tonquin herd first. Young caribou (10-14 months old) would be transported from the facility to a temporary pen. Other wild caribou could be temporarily relocated to the release pen to help the animals bond and adapt to each other and the environment. All animals in the release pen would be set free into the wild after two to three weeks. 

    For more information, click here.


    Do you have any comments or concerns about releasing caribou?

    Do you have any recommendations for avoiding or mitigating these concerns?

    Replies Closed
  • Detailed impact assessment

    5 months ago
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    To help Parks Canada understand and eliminate, reduce, or control potentially adverse effects this program could have on people or key ecological, cultural, and social values, the proposal has undergone a Detailed Impact Assessment (DIA). Parks Canada expects that it is unlikely for significant adverse impacts to occur as long as mitigations are implemented (pending feedback received through consultation). 

    The scope of the Detailed Impact Assessment is available on the Canadian Impact Assessment Registry website. The draft Detailed Impact Assessment is available by request. Email caribou@pc.gc.ca to request a copy.

    Do you have any comments or concerns about the draft Detailed Impact Assessment?

    Replies Closed
  • What else should we know?

    5 months ago
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    What else does Parks Canada need to know when making a decision about whether to proceed with this project?

    Replies Closed
Page last updated: 14 Sep 2022, 10:29 AM