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.

CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.

Do you have a question about the proposed caribou conservation breeding project? Please ask your question here and we'll respond as soon as we can.

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    As someone who is disappointed about not being able to access the Tonquin Valley on skis, how can you predict that Caribou will choose to stay in the Valley and why was that valley chosen over all the rest of the valleys in the Park?

    Laurie Rodger asked 5 months ago

    The Tonquin Valley is home to the Tonquin caribou herd. This valley is an important piece of wilderness that caribou have used for thousands of years. Currently, the Tonquin herd is estimated to have 55 animals and they use habitat throughout the Tonquin Valley at all times of the year. 

    Parks Canada has chosen to augment the Tonquin caribou herd for several reasons. 

    • With continued action by Parks Canada to minimize threats to caribou, the number of caribou in the Tonquin herd has stabilized at a lower number. However, the number of breeding female caribou in the Tonquin herd is currently too small for the herd to recover on its own. 
    • Research shows that by repeatedly adding animals to the Tonquin herd, it is possible to recover the herd to a stable and self-sustaining population of caribou.
    • Experts and evidence from other conservation programs suggest that captive-bred caribou are more likely to succeed in returning to the wild by integrating with an existing herd. Tonquin caribou can guide the animals bred in captivity in their return to the wild.
    • There is a high probability that caribou released into the Tonquin will remain in this valley because the habitat and existing herd meet their social and biophysical needs.
    • If releasing animals from the conservation breeding program is successful in the Tonquin, Parks Canada can take what was learned and adapt the program to potentially reintroduce captive-bred caribou into areas of the park where herds have disappeared.
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    Where is the proposed breeding project going to be located?

    Tristan Britton asked 5 months ago

    Parks Canada proposes locating the facility along the Geraldine Fire Road, 30 kilometres south of the Jasper townsite. For the approximate location on Google maps, click here. For more information, click here.

    If you would like to provide feedback on this proposed location, or any other aspect of the proposed project, please feel free to add your thoughts to the Forum discussions. This first discussion topic is about the location of the facility.

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