Revelstoke Caribou Maternity Pen
Mountain Caribou are listed as “endangered” by the Province of B.C., and “threatened” by the federal Species at Risk Act. Several Caribou sub-populations are declining at a rate that will likely result in extirpation (local extinction) in the near future. This three- to five-year pilot project will determine if maternal penning can improve the survival of calves and adults in the Columbia Mountains ecosystem by protecting them in a secure enclosure for four months until calves are larger and more capable of avoiding predation. If successful, this tool will be used to increase the size of the Columbia north caribou sub-population. The goal of the project is to use maternal penning in the Revelstoke area to increase calf survival by a factor of two to three.
This project provides information on cause-specific mortality (of calves and adults in 2015-16 and adults in 2016-17), condition, pregnancy rates, parturition rates, neonate mortality and population recruitment. Fall 2015 is midway through the second year of the project. Pooled over both years, adult and juvenile survival to release is 96.7% (30/31) and calf survival to release is 83% (20/24), pregnancy rate is 89.2% (25/28. At the end of the first year, two of nine calves were “at heel” in March 2015 (22%) and 100% of adults survived. The calf survival rate in the first year is comparable to estimated wild survival (19%), and adult survival is higher than the historic rate for this herd (63-90%).