2018 barren-ground caribou surveys reveal Bathurst and Bluenose-East herds continue to decline

Yellowknife — November 22, 2018
News Releases

Population surveys carried out this summer by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources on the Bathurst and Bluenose-East caribou herds show caribou numbers continue to decline significantly.

Surveys done in June 2018 indicate the number of animals in the Bathurst herd has dropped from about 20,000 in 2015 to approximately 8,200 in 2018. At its peak in 1986, the size of the herd was estimated at more than 470,000 caribou. The Bluenose-East herd has also declined from approximately 39,000 animals in 2015 to roughly 19,300 caribou.

The Bluenose-West, Cape Bathurst and Tuktoyaktuk Peninsula herds were also surveyed this summer and those survey results are slightly more positive. The survey results for the Cape Bathurst herd show an increase from approximately 2,500 in 2015 to 4,500 in 2018.

Survey results for the Bluenose-West herd indicate that this herd has been stable for the last decade and remain at approximately 21,000 animals. The Tuktoyaktuk Peninsula population is now estimated to be about 1,500 animals, down from 1,900 in 2015.

Caribou are a shared resource and the Government of the Northwest Territories is already engaging with its Indigenous co-management partners to talk about how we can come up with a shared solution focused on giving the caribou the support they need to survive and thrive.



“These latest numbers make it clear we need to continue to work closely with our Indigenous partners to help protect barren-ground caribou. Strong and coordinated action is necessary to mitigate the decline across the Northwest Territories so that caribou can continue to sustain our people for generations to come.”

 - Robert C. McLeod, Minister of Environment and Natural Resources

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For more information, contact:

Joslyn Oosenbrug

Public Affairs and Communications

Environment and Natural Resources

Government of the Northwest Territories

Tel: 867-767-9231 ext. 53045

Email: Joslyn_Oosenbrug@gov.nt.ca