Population Assessment for the Wolverine Caribou Herd
The Wolverine Caribou herd is currently listed as threatened under the federal Species-at-Risk Act (SARA). Estimated at 341 animals in 2010, population surveys suggest the herd slowly declined in the mid- to late-2000s. FLNRO is conducting a detailed population assessment of the Wolverine herd. In late-winter 2016, 30 GPS radio-collars will be deployed on adult female caribou in the Wolverine range and a population census will be conducted. The GPS-collars are expected to function for three years.
The project will also support additional mortality site investigations and calf recruitment surveys after March 2016. By maximizing collar use, more detailed information on specific factors influencing the Wolverine Caribou herd will be gathered. This project will provide up-to-date population information on the Wolverine Caribou herd by providing information on the current mortality rates, main causes of mortality, and the pattern and rate of recruitment. Adult female survival and calf recruitment are important parameters that influence caribou population dynamics.
In addition to providing detailed information on population vital rates, both metrics can act as key response variables to assess the efficacy of any potential population management actions outlined in federal recovery strategies. This information, in addition to updated census data, will help inform and prioritize the management tools required to conserve or recover the Wolverine herd, including the timing and intensity of such actions.