Biologists discover another female calf in depleted South Purcell Mountain Caribou herd

Calf will be moved to Revelstoke maternity pens, then released

The Columbia North mountain caribou herd in the Revelstoke area will be getting another female member, as Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development biologists discovered another female calf in the now depleted South Purcell herd.

The calf was discovered near Kimberley.

This is not going to do anything to change the dire situation for the South Purcell herd, says biologist Leo De Groot, but it is one positive in a sad situation.

“We knew last March that the South Purcell population had crashed from 16 animals to four,” he said. “All four were collared in April. The decision was made to at least move the female (up to the North Columbia herd).”

They thought there were two bulls left, but then another calf was discovered. At first, the animal was believed to be a male.

But a month ago, after a closer look from a helicopter, it was discovered that an animal they thought was a male may in fact be a female.

“A couple of weeks ago we got some more photos, using a telephoto lens from a helicopter and deducted that it was a calf, and female,” De Groot said.

He says that when the thought was that there was only males left, there was no real biological value to moving them — just a few males can do the breeding in the North Columbia herd.

“It’s stressful to move them into a foreign environment, so just leave them where they are. Actually one of the males is so big he probably wouldn’t fit in the helicopter. But the female is useful to another population. It makes sense to move her to the North Columbia.”

The calf will have some company in the maternity pen project at Revelstoke. De Groot says that one cow and calf were released from the pens earlier this year but the cow was killed by wolves.

“The calf actually returned to the pens, it’s the only place she knew. The gates were opened and the calf went in.

“A month ago when we moved the other three animals from the southern herds, the calf appeared to be pretty happy.”

Right now, De Groot says that the newly discovered female calf is hanging around with a younger male.

“If we can catch this bull that the calf is with, we’ll take it as well, otherwise the bulls will be left to live out their lives.”

He says it’s not unusual for a female and younger male to stay together, as caribou are herd animals. Older males will often be more solitary, which is the case with the group near Kimberley.

So the female will be joining the North Columbia herd, which is at 150 animals.

“It’s not going to make any difference for the South Purcell herd which is really sad,” De Groot said. “But it’s one more female for Columbia North, so that’s the consolation. But unfortunately we are losing the last two southern herds.”

Eddie Petryshen from Wildsight says that he agrees that another female going to the Columbia North herd is a positive in general.

As for the South Purcell herd, “We are in a situation that is desperate.”

Just Posted

Former Liberal candidate endorses Greens in Kootenay-Columbia

Don Johnston says he’ll be voting for Abra Brynne on Oct. 21

Creston Fire Rescue responds to seven calls

Creston Fire Rescue responded to seven calls from Oct 7 – 14 it reported.

Advance voting in 2019 federal election begins

Voting at advance polling stations has become a popular choice in Canada over the years

Creston town council approves signage variance for restaurant

A development variance permit request by Memories of Indian Cusine Ltd. was… Continue reading

Officer shot, man arrested after standoff near Argenta

The officer suffered non-life threatening injuries

VIDEO: #MeToo leader launches new hashtag to mobilize U.S. voters

Tarana Burke hopes to prompt moderators to ask about sexual violence at next debate

B.C. massage therapist reprimanded, fined for exposing patients’ breasts

Registered massage therapist admits professional misconduct

B.C. boosts legal aid funding in new payment contract

‘Duty counsel’ service restored in some communities, David Eby says

Rugby Canada helps recovery efforts in Japan after typhoon cancels final match

Canadian players wanted to “give back in whatever small way they could”

Cheating husband sues mistress for gifted ring after wife learns about affair

The husband gave his mistress $1,000 to buy herself a ring in December 2017

British couple vacationing in Vancouver detained in US after ‘accidentally’ crossing border

Parents travelling with three-month-old reportedly being held in Pennsylvania

After losing two baby boys, B.C. parents hope to cut through the taboo of infant death

Oct. 15 is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day in B.C.

Alberta to join B.C.’s class-action lawsuit against opioid manufacturers, distributors

B.C. government claims opioids were falsely marketed as less addictive than other pain meds

VIDEO: Trudeau, Singh posture for ‘progressive’ votes while Scheer fights in Quebec

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, whose party has been on the rise in recent polls, is campaigning in Toronto

Most Read