YELLOWKNIFE (December 19, 2014) – The Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) is proposing the creation of a mobile core conservation zone around collared cows from the Bathurst caribou herd. No harvesting of Bathurst caribou would be permitted in this conservation zone.
The proposal comes as discussions between the GNWT, political leaders from Aboriginal governments and wildlife management authorities to consider management actions for the Bathurst and Bluenose-East caribou herds continue. Progress has been made in numerous areas, but participants have not reached consensus on harvest restrictions for either herd.
Trends from reconnaissance surveys of calving grounds conducted in June 2014 suggest both herds are declining at an alarming rate and the GNWT has concerns that any harvest on the Bathurst caribou herd is not sustainable.
“Bathurst caribou collar data suggests the core Bathurst herd remains tightly grouped since leaving the calving grounds in the spring,” said Environment and Natural Resources (ENR) Minister J. Michael Miltenberger. “This presents an opportunity to implement a creative solution that protects the herd and allows for subsistence Aboriginal harvesting.”
The mobile conservation zone concept continues to be discussed with Aboriginal governments. Until these discussions are concluded, ENR will not be issuing authorizations for the harvesting of Bathurst caribou.
The GNWT, Aboriginal government leaders and wildlife management authorities have also been considering interim recommendations from the Advisory Committee for Cooperation on Wildlife Management (ACWM) for the Bluenose-East herd that include a harvest target of 2,800 animal (including approximately 1,800 for NWT harvesters). ENR agrees with a majority of the recommendations and will work with co-management partners to implement them.
ENR believes a target of 2,500 (including 1,500 for NWT harvesters) would be more reasonable and will closely monitor harvesting of Bluenose East caribou until consensus is reached on an interim harvest target for the 2014-2015 season. The GNWT will pursue options for further limiting the harvest should monitoring indicate a rapid decline in the Bluenose East herd.
Government of the Northwest Territories