Hiking in the Yukon. Image: Pat Morrow
Top actions | ... | ...

Sign Up For Email News Updates

Be the first to know about news, events and successes.

"I left inspired to protect the special places in my own backyard."
Sara Renner, Y2Y supporter

Read More

Caribou spotted in Montana a ray of hope, say conservationists

Recent confirmed sightings of mountain caribou in northwest Montana near the border with British Columbia are cause for hope, says staff at Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative.

MEDIA RELEASE | Nov. 6, 2018 

Recent confirmed sightings of mountain caribou in northwest Montana near the border with British Columbia are cause for hope, says staff at Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative.  

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks have reported documented sightings of caribou south of the U.S.-Canada border. The multiple sightings include a male and a female in separate locations. Caribou wander into Montana very rarely; the last documented occurrence was in 2012. 

“Today we tend to think of caribou as living in small herds in defined areas, but historically there were thousands of caribou, distributed across the landscape,” says Candace Batycki, program director at Y2Y. “These sightings show us that caribou need healthy, connected landscapes  as we all do.” 

"It's a sad sign of the challenges facing caribou that the decline in their numbers, mostly due to habitat loss, has turned caribou spotting into front page news,” adds Kim Trotter, U.S. program director at Y2Y.

“But the resilience of these individual animals provides a ray of hope into what is otherwise a grim situation.” 

Thousands of caribou once roamed Selkirk and Purcell mountain ranges in southern B.C. into Montana, Idaho and Washington but caribou presence in the U.S. has been steadily declining.

In spring 2018 biologists reported that the southern-most herds in British Columbia were down to just a handful of animals, none of them using habitat in the Lower 48.

Last week it was reported that the B.C. government plans to remove these few animals and use them in a captive breeding program or release them into larger herds. 

“Successive governments’ unwillingness to balance industrial and commercial activity with the needs of caribou has gotten us into a tough spot,” says Batycki.

“Drastic measures like maternity penning and captive breeding are needed at this critical juncture, but ultimately no species survives without habitat. Mountain caribou are an international endangered species, and B.C., Canada and the U.S. are all obligated to recover them across their range, whatever the current numbers might be.”  

For further comment please contact:  

Kelly Zenkewich, communications manager, , 403-609-2666 ext. 126