The B.C. government has spent millions in efforts to save the imperilled herd, even as it prepares to log its critical habitat.
By Sara Cox, The Narwhal, Nov. 25, 2022
The laundry list of ways the B.C. government has stepped in to protect the imperilled Columbia North caribou herd reads like something from a James Bond script: helicopters, tranquilizers, high-powered rifles and high-stakes captures.
First, it invested in a $2.4 million maternal pen (now defunct) where pregnant females were held until their calves were born and old enough to stand a chance in the wild. Then, it spent up to $30,000 to rescue three survivors from two Kootenay area caribou herds that became locally extinct, tranquilizing the animals and transporting them by helicopter, then trucking them through the snow to a pen and eventually merging them with the Columbia North population. Two years ago, it spent $100,000 to shoot 10 wolves that could gain easy access to the herd through logging roads, seismic lines and other linear disturbances that criss-cross caribou habitat.
But even with these costly and elaborate recovery efforts underway, the B.C. Ministry of Forests continues to consider and approve industrial logging proposals in the Columbia North herd’s critical habitat — habitat the federal government deems necessary for the endangered herd’s recovery and survival.