Population Recovery

We’re working to increase the abundance of Klinse-Za caribou, and eventually rekindle a culturally-meaningful hunt.

138 southern mountain caribou now exist, up from a population of 36 in 2013

Landscape disturbance from logging, mining, extraction, and human settlement has caused this decline in the population and altered the habitat to become unsuitable for the Klinse-Za caribou herd. Through active efforts led by West Moberly and Saulteau First Nations, the caribou population has increased from 36 caribou in 2013 to 138 caribou in 2023 (this was from a rapid decline of about 250 caribou in 1995).

Population Graph color

Community partnership

Recovering caribou takes a village

The efforts of the Saulteau and West Moberly First Nations have brought this herd back from the brink of extripation

This collaborative conservation project is doing the impossible and reshaping what effective caribou recovery looks like. The Nations—supported by committed partners from government, industry, and environmental organizations—implemented a multi-pronged recovery program to increase the survival of adult female caribou and their calves.

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MM9508 Vanishing Caribou

Maternal pen care

Adult female caribou are brought into a high elevation enclosure where they can have their calves in safety. The caribou are cared for by Indigenous Guardians that live with them full time.

Release back to wild

Once the calves are at least six weeks old they, and their moms, are released back into the wild. This often occurs around the end of August.

Reduction of predators

Wolf populations were reduced to more natural densities that were consistent with caribou survival. First Nations from both Nations trapped wolves from the ground and the province conducted an aerial program.

Building a sustainable population

On-going land restoration will help create a sustainable environment for the growing caribou population to live independently.

Chief Roland Wilson speaking while holding a pair of antlers

“It was an all out effort. We didn’t go into it half-hearted”

– Chief Roland Willson

Latest updates on recovery efforts