Bathurst caribou. Photo:  GNWT / J.Obst, ENR Bathurst caribou. Photo: GNWT / J.Obst, ENR

WRRB Releases Reasons for Decision reports (Part B) for Bathurst and Bluenose-East caribou herds

YELLOWKNIFE (October 5, 2016) –The Wek’èezhìı Renewable Resources Board (WRRB) submitted its Reasons for Decision reports, Part B, on the management of the Bathurst and Bluenose-East caribou herds for 2016 to 2019 to the Tłı̨chǫ Government and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (ENR), Government of the Northwest Territories on September 27, 2016 and October 3, 2016 respectively. 

Both reports address additional predator management actions, biological and environmental monitoring, and cumulative effects.  Based on the available Aboriginal and scientific evidence, the Board believes the severity of the Bathurst caribou decline is unprecedented and that there is a risk that the herd will be extirpated within a few short years.  Further, the Board feels that there is a risk that the Bluenose-East herd will follow the same path as the Bathurst herd and also face extirpation. 

It is imperative that all users and managers collaborate to generate new information and approaches to promote the herd’s recovery that extend beyond harvest management. A number of the reports’ recommendations call for both Tłı̨chǫ knowledge and scientific research into the drivers of the decline of the Bathurst and Bluenose-East herds.  WRRB has recommended several Tłı̨chǫ knowledge research and monitoring programs focusing on wolf, grizzly bear, stress and other impacts on caribou from collars and aircraft, and an assessment of quality and quantity of both summer and winter forage as impacted by climate change.    

The reports also recommend protecting key Bathurst and Bluenose-East caribou habitats, such as water crossings and tataa (corridors between bodies of water used by caribou herds to access feeding grounds along their migration route), and using tools and processes such as the Bathurst Caribou Range Plan, Conservation Areas in the NWT Wildlife Act, land use planning, and values-at-risk in a fire management plan.  The Board also proposed the continued refinement of the Inventory of Landscape Change, the integration of Wildlife and Wildlife Habitat Protection Plans and Wildlife Effects Monitoring Programs objectives for monitoring the effects of development on ɂekwǫ̀ in Wek’èezhìı, and the development of monitoring thresholds for climate indicators.

The Bathurst caribou report, Part B, follows submission of Part A of its Reasons for Decision report on May 26, 2016, which contained the Board’s determination of a total allowable harvest of zero for the Bathurst caribou herd and recommendations on wolf management actions. The Bluenose-East caribou report, Part B, follows submission of Part A of its Reasons for Decision report on June 13, 2016, which contained the Board’s determination of a total allowable harvest of 750 bulls-only for the Bluenose-East caribou herd within Wek’èezhìı and recommendations on harvest allocation, harvest zoning and wolf management actions.

Additional information on the WRRB’s Reasons for Decision reports, Part B, can be found in the attached Backgrounders.  The reports are available on the Public Registry at http://wrrb.ca/public-information/public-registry.

For more information, please contact:

Grant Pryznyk, Chair

Wek’èezhìı Renewable Resources Board

T:  867-873-5740 or 867-867-5741

Backgrounder:  Wek’èezhìı Renewable Resources Board Reasons for Decision Final Report, Bathurst Caribou, Part B

Backgrounder:  Wek’èezhìı Renewable Resources Board Reasons for Decision Final Report, Bluenose-East Caribou, Part B