Range management

The term “range management” refers to actions that can be taken to reduce impacts on the quality of the caribou range, actions to minimize disturbance to the caribou, and damage to the land that sustains them. These actions include fire control, regulation of forestry, establishment of protected areas, and limitations on infrastructure (such as roads) or measures taken to reduce its impact.

Fire Control

Fires play an important role in the regeneration of natural systems in the north, but they are also increasing as the north warms. This increase, coupled with the decline of most of the Canadian Arctic caribou herds has raised community concerns about the way fires are fought. This concern is centred on the barren-ground herds that tend to winter in the treeline. The lichens that are a major part of the barren-ground caribou winter diet can take decades to recover from forest fires.  However, very old stands of trees also tend to have less lichen around them.

The NWT government considers important caribou habitat as a “value-at-risk” when making decisions on fighting forest fires. The government is considering increasing fire response activities on key caribou winter ranges during the fire season. 

Infrastructure and Development

Planned roads, ports, and pipelines and the development of mines and oil and gas drilling have raised concerns about the impacts of development of caribou. There is evidence from both scientific and Indigenous knowledge sources that caribou avoid roads and mining developments. This avoidance does not appear to be the same in all cases, so it is difficult to say exactly what impact it has. Avoidance may add to stress felt by the animals, and cause them to stay away from areas in which they would normally feed, or areas through which they would travel.

These concerns are being seriously considered by management authorities in some cases. For instance, the Nunavut Impact Review Board turned down a gold mining proposal south of Cambridge Bay (the Back River project owned by Sabina Gold and Silver Corp.) in 2016 in large part due to concerns about its impact on caribou. The federal Minister asked the board to take another look at the project, and it was eventually approved, but with several measures touching on mitigation of the project’s effects on caribou. Those include shutting down operations if caribou calving or post-calving ranges overlap with the mine area.

Protected Areas

Using protected areas to protect caribou populations is an approach that has been tried in some areas, particularly to protect calving grounds, which are known to be particularly sensitive areas for caribou. A problem with this approach is that calving areas shift from year to year, so protected areas need to be large enough to cover the range of potential calving areas. In 2016, the Draft Nunavut Land Use Plan proposed that all caribou calving grounds in Nunavut should be protected, but the plan has yet to be approved.

Some caribou herds, such as the Cape Churchill and Porcupine herds have large protected areas that cover historical calving grounds, but even these are not always safe. For instance, there are periodic attempts to open up the 6,000 km2 Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (where the Porcupine herd calves) to oil and gas exploration.

The NWT government has been using a different tactic for the Bathurst Caribou herd, setting up the Mobile Core Bathurst Caribou Management Zone. This area, updated monthly as the caribou move, is a no-hunting zone for caribou. The 2019 Bathurst Caribou Range Plan also proposes habitat conservation for sensitive areas and to ensure connectivity of the herd's annual range



Related news

Protectors of Aqviqtuuq

A longer story about the efforts of people in Taloyoak, Nunavut to create the Aqviqtuuq Inuit Protected and Conserved Area. The proposal would cover about 90,000 square milometres, and would include the calving grounds of the Ahiak caribou herd. Local people hope to have the conservation designation in place by 2030.
15 July 2024 | Canadian Geographic

Winds of change

A company is planning to site wind turbines to generate electricity near the Nunavut communities of Rankin Inlet and Baker Lake, and is planning in advance to monitor local caribou movements near the proposed sites. Survey stations are being set up this summer. The story gave no information about how soon the wind turbines might be installed.
11 July 2024 | Nunavut News

OPINION: Biologists dispute the state’s Mulchatna ‘intensive management’ rationale

This article from Alaska is included as it addresses the questions of predator control as a method of increasing numbers in a migratory caribou herd, and the idea of trying to set an "appropriate" target for a herd's size.
5 July 2024 | Alaska Daily News

In the Arctic, a massive new Inuvialuit-led conservation area protects Porcupine caribou grounds

A feature on the creation of a new protected area in the range of the Pocrupine Caribou herd. The Aullaviat/Anguniarvik Traditional Conservation Area (where the animals travel through and where people harvest) covers more than 8,000 square kilometres of land in Northeast Yukon. The new Inuvialuit-led protected area will complete a network of protected areas that covers most of the Canadian portion of the range of the Porcupine caribou herd. A  $13.5 million trust fund will support a management plan and a Guardians program.
19 June 2024 | The Narwhal

Arctic caribou management board releases 10-year plan

A news story about the release of a new 10 year management plan by the Beverly and Qamanirjuaq Caribou management board. The story notes that the plan was build on two guiding principles, "shared responsibility and prioritizing caribou in the caribou-people relationship". It also notes that the plan identifies four main priority areas with associated activities, but those are not listed in the story.
18 June 2024 | Laronge Now

Nearly $4.8 million to track migratory caribou in the context of climate change

A news release announcing multi-million dollar funding that will sponsor a project to research migratory caribou on the Ungava peninsula in Nunavik (Quebec). The "Caribou Ungava" project has been active since 2009; the new funding will take it to 2029. The project is to focus on five main areas of research: 1) the dynamics and connectivity of migratory caribou populations with forest and mountain caribou populations; 2) mitigation of the impacts of territorial development; 3) determinants of habitat use and change; 4) health indicators of caribou and their boreal and northern competitors; 5) the ecology of black bear and musk ox interacting with migratory and expanding caribou on the Ungava Peninsula.
10 May 2024 | laval university

Controversial methods are working to buy Canada’s caribou some time

This audio interview (8':34") was prompted by a paper that looked at the effectiveness of methods applied to saving herds of endangered southern mountain caribou in Canada. The paper's lead author Clayton Lamb is interviewed and discusses the paper's findings, such as the success of captive breeding, supplementary feeding, and wolf control. He stresses that long term measures must be taken to help restore the caribou habitat.
29 April 2024 | cbc

Colville Lake declines to share caribou information with GNWT

Hearings wre held in the Sahtu region of the Nothwest Territories to discuss the impacts of wildfire on caribou. One First Nation declined to share information at the session, noting that elders have warned against publicly discussing things beyond their control such as caribou and weather. A manager of environmental assessment and habitat with the territorial government told the meeting, "Loss of habitat from wildfires has been identified as a main threat to barren-ground caribou."
26 February 2024 | Cabin Radio

Oil field road traffic disrupts North Slope caribou more than previously recognized

Acording to this news article, a new study has found that the threshold for traffic to disturb caribou is lower than previously thought. The article says five vehicles per hour is enough to distrub caribou near the road. The prvious generally accepted figure was 15 vehicles per hour. The study foused on the Central Arctic Caribour Herd in Alaska
17 January 2024 | Alaska Public Media

Caribou Management in Alaska

An Alaska public radio call-in program on the subject of caribou management, including climate change impacts and harvest levels. The program runs just under an hour. Not Canadian, but discussing similar issues.
10 January 2024 | Alaska Public Media

Board recommends against proposed mining road in central Yukon

A Yukon environmental review has recommended against the building of a road that is in the range of the Fortymile and Klaza caribou herd. Concerns about the impact of the road on the two herds were a factor in the board's recommendation. The recommendation now goes for decision by the Yukon government and the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
3 January 2024 | cbc north

Taking a Bite Out of Caribou Herds

An article written by a researcher looking into the factors affecting the decline of barren ground caribou, particularly the Bathurst herd. The researcher is a member of the "Kutz lab" team that has been working alongside Indigenous communities in the Northwest Territories to investigate causes of the decline, and monitor caribou health. "In the coming year, we are initiating a new project for Central Canadian barren-ground caribou to see whether Indigenous knowledge of caribou health, coupled with harvester-based sampling and local field observations, can anticipate population shifts for proactive management."
14 December 2023 | fair chase magazine

For the Gwich’in People, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Isn’t a Political Issue, It’s Home

A brief magazine article focusing on the importance of the Porcupine caribou herd to Gwich'in people. The article is written in the context of continuing pressure to open up a part of the herd's Alaskan calving grounds to oil and gas exploration and development.
7 December 2023 | Smithsonian Magazine

All-season road between Tibbitt Lake and Lockhart Lake moves forward despite dwindling diamonds

The government of the Northwest Territories plans to proceed with an all season road that pushes into a mineral-rich region north of Yellowknife. There are concerns the road would imperil already-declining caribou herds, especially the endangered Bathurst herd. An environmental review of development in the region is pending.
1 December 2023 | CBC North

Caribou numbers will decline as long as Nunavut goes without land use plan says former premier

This story talks about the impacts on caribou from the lack of a land use plan for Nunavut. The plan, which has been in preparation for many years, was submitted to governments and Nunvut Tunngavik Incorporated (the Nunavut land claims organization) earlier this year. Former premier Paul Okalik blames the absence of a plan for the encroachment of mining companies on caribou calving grounds, and subsequent threats to caribou populations.
30 November 2023 | APTN

Review board recommends against Meliadine mine extension

The projet review board for Nunavut has recommended against the expansion of a gold mine north of Rankin Inlet. The Nunavut Impact Review Board says impacts of the expansion pose a risk to the Qamanirjuaq caribou herd. The board's recommendation goes to the federal Minister of Nortern Affairs for a final decision.
22 November 2023 | Nunatsiaq News

Barren-ground caribou shouldn’t be listed as threatened: GN

The Government of Nunavut says it will not support caribou being listed as threatened under the federal Species at Risk Act. Consultations on the listing are currently underway. The Nunavut Wildlife Management Board is on record supporting the listing. 
13 November 2023 | Nunatsiaq news

Ice that survived Arctic summer hits low, with implications for traditional harvesting and shipping

A story that mentions the likely effects of disappearing sea ice on caribou that migrate to and from Canadian Arctic islands. It specificaly mentions the Dolphin and Union herd, a unique herd that migrates across th sea ice between Victoria Island and the mainland twice a year. The Northwest Territories Species at Risk Committee assessed the herd as 'endangered' in 2023.
24 October 2023 | cbc north

Agnico Eagle now complying with caribou order for Meadowbank, feds say

A mine north of Baker Lake in Nunavut has agreed to change some aspects of how it monitors and responds to caribou near the mine. Earlier in 2023, the Meadowbank Mine, owned by Agnico Eagle had been ordered by the federal government to comply with its permits relating to when and how it ceases operations on mining roads when caribou are present. The news story quotes a government document stating that the government is now satisfied with the mine owner's compliance with the earlier order.
5 October 2023 | CBC North

Caribou concerns dominate hearing on Nunavut mine extension

Public hearings about proposed extensions of a gold mining project near Rankin Inlet have heard fears about the potential impacts on caribou. A proposed wind farm is of particular concern, as local people say it is close to calving grounds.
20 September 2023 | CBC

Final hearing on future of Meliadine gold mine begins in Rankin Inlet

A proposal to extend the life of a gold mine near Rankin Inlet in Nunavut has raised concerns about the project's impact on caribou. The Meliadine mine proposal is being reviewed by the Nunavut Impact Review Board. One concern raised by the local Inuit association regards the impacts of a proposed wind farm at the mine. The Kivalliq Inuit Association says, "The impacts of wind turbines on barren ground caribou herds have not been studied in enough depth to truly understand the potential impacts...".
12 September 2023 | CBC

Gwich'in celebrate cancellation of oil exploration leases in Alaska's Arctic refuge Social Sharing

The US government administration annouced it is cancelling oil exploration leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, an area that includes the breeding grounds of the Porcupine caribou herd. The herd migrate between Canada and Alaska. Gwich'in leaders say they will continue to push for eglislation to make the area permanently off-limits for oil and gas development. The decision was not poppular with Alaskan politicans and an organization representing the Iñupiat.
8 September 2023 | CBC

Caribou butts and wolf cameos: How motion-activated cameras may reveal the secrets of a healthy Manitoba herd

A News story about ongoing research on the Cape Churchill herd, much of whose territory is protected by Wapusk National Park. The research has used a network of trail cameras to help track caribou location and behaviour. The researchers are trying to determine why this particular herd is stable while many herds are declining - the hypothesis is that the park's protection has much to do with it.
24 August 2023 | CBC

Herbivore Diversity Helps Maintain Arctic Tundra Diversity

A report on research in Greenland that shows grazing animals such as caribou are likely to contribute to less biodiversity loss in Arctic tundra as the region warms. The study leaders fenced off some area so they could be grazed by caribou, muskox, and Arctic hares and found, "Biodiversity declined more gradually in the grazed plots compared with the ungrazed plots."  
14 August 2023 | Eos

Federal judge upholds pause on pre-development oil work in Arctic refuge

A news story about a judge's order to halt oil and gas survey work in the Alaskan National Widlife Refuge. The refuge contains the calving area of th Porcupine caribou herd. The state of Alaska and some of its agencies have leases in the refuge that would have permitted the first stages of development. The ruling means those who wish to undertake the oil and gas development work must "...await the results of a new environmental assessment expected later this year." The story notes that,"The federal government is expected to deliver a revised environmental impact statement by the end of September, and that could lead to a decision that changes, confirms or voids the ANWR development program altogether."
11 August 2023 | Alaska Beacon

Nunavut Planning Commission submits territory-wide land use plan for approval

A plan to guide development and conservation in Nunavut has been publicly released. To be finalized, the plan must be approved by the governments of Canada and Nunavut, and by the Inuit organization that administers the Nunavut land Claim, Nunvut Tunggavik Incorporated. A spokesperson for conservation organization WWF says the plan's protections for caribou calving grouds are a sign of progress, but he's concerned that those protections could be over-ridden by other elements of the plan.  
23 June 2023 | CBC North

Feds say Agnico Eagle has failed to protect caribou at Nunavut gold mine as promised

The federal government says a company operating a gold mine near Baker Lake in Nunavut is failling to comply with promises to close roads when migrating caribou are close by. In an oficial document, a government representative has ordered the company to "...comply with its permits to operate or face potential penalties."
16 June 2023 | CBC north

Braiding Indigenous rights and endangered species law

A story based on a Science magazine paper about how conservation targets need to take into account "...what communities need for health, food security, and cultural well-being." The story uses the recovery of mountain caribou in British Columbia as an example of how conservation targets need to shift to allow for meaningful Indigenous harvest. "The paper highlights the current caribou count would only provide about three animals, or one meal per person, per year for Saulteau and West Moberly First Nations. The culturally significant count would require a herd of over 3,000 animals, an abundance more reflective of the historic “sea of caribou” level."
23 May 2023 | University of British Columbia

Nunavut flips stance on caribou protection again, now supports development ban on calving grounds

The Government of Nunavut made a submission to the Nunavut Land Use Plan in which it supports banning mining development in caribou calving grounds, and taking measures to seasonally limit industrial activity in other areas important to caribou. The story notes that the government is not backing proposals by some Inuit organizations to impose mobile caribou protection measures, such as those used in the Northwest Territories to limit hunting of the Bathurst caribou herd.
11 April 2023 | cbc north

Guilbeault calls for decree to protect caribou in Quebec

Although this story is about woodland caribou, it is included here because of the actions being taken by a federal minister to discharge obligations to protect habitat for a threatened species, Woodland caribou. The federal minister has been negotiating a habitat protection plan with the government of Quebec, but the story quotes the Minister as saying that he is, "now required by law to recommend to the Governor in Council that a protection order be made for unprotected portions of critical boreal caribou habitat."
7 February 2023 | CTV news

Network of guardians working to protect Bathurst caribou

A story about how Indigenous guardian programs are coming together to help conserve the decimated Bathurst Caribou herd that ranges between the NWT and Nunavut. Particpants hope that insights from the different guardian programs will help the herd recover.
27 January 2023 | Cabin Radio

Miltenberger: Who speaks for the caribou?

An opinion piece by a former NWT cabinet minister talks about how caribou and wildlife issues were critical in creating a new cooperative political system in the NWT. He uses this example to question recent changes in NWT politics.
26 January 2023 | Northern news services

Valérie Courtois on what she hopes will come out of COP15: “to save the world”

A feature article on Valérie Courtois, Director of the Indigenous Leadership Initiative. The article talks about the "COP 15" meeting of the United Nations Convention on Bioversity, but also focuses on the decline of the George River caribou herd, noting that climate change and industrial development on the herds range may affect its ability to recover.
12 December 2022 | Canadian Geographic

What can caribou hear? Scientists work to understand impact of noise

A story about research conducted into what sounds caribou can hear, and the sounds around them. The first part of the research focused on what caribou can hear, and found they are particularly responsive to higher frequency sounds. The second part added audio recorders to collared caribou, "Tracking how caribou react to sounds in their environment could help define strategies for reducing development’s impact on the animals." according to the story. bonus for teachers - this story also includes sounds from the collared caribou, including a caribou burp.
21 November 2022 | Cabin radio

QIA says Nunavut land-use plan doesn’t go far enough to protect caribou

The Qikiqtani Inuit Association (the organization that holds land rights for Inuit in the Baffin region of Nunavut) is urging more prtoections for caribou in the Nunavut Land Use Plan. The land use plan is in its final hearing stage. The plan has been under development for several years and will influence the future of development in the territory. 
18 November 2022 | Nunatsiaq news

GN calls for federal investigation into Agnico Eagle’s Meadowbank mine

The Government of Nunavut is asking the federal government to investigate what it says is a mining company's failure to follow caribou conservation measures. The Meadowbank Gold Mine, north of Baker Lake in Nunavut, is supposed to close raods when groups of caribou are in the vicinity. In a letter, a Nunavut government representative says this is the fourth year that there is evidence that the comany has not followed the rules on raod closures.
3 November 2022 | Nunatsiaq news

Diamond mine proposal draws concerns for wildlife, environment

Caribou calving areas on the south of Baffin Island (Nunavut) could be affected by a proposed diamond mine in the area. The DeBeers mine could open as soon as 2026 if granted regulatory approval. The number of caribou on the island has shrunk by an estimated 95% since highs in the 1990s..
14 October 2022 | Nunatsiaq News

Critics get their time at Nunavut land use planning hearings

A story about the hearings into the Nunavut Land Use Plan. Some speakers at hte hearings drew attention to the importance of the plan to caribou herds, and asked for more such protections before hte plan is finally adopted.
27 September 2022 | cbc north

Habitat restoration shifts predator-prey dynamics of Alberta's caribou and wolves, study says

A news story about a study conducted in Alberta on the caribou conservation effects of amending seismic lines to return them to closer to a natural state. The study found that restored siesmic lines slowed both caribou and wolves travelling along them. There is a suggestion that slowing the animals may reduce rates of wolf predation on caribou.
16 September 2022 | cbc

Commission releases new version of Dawson land use plan

A news story about the release of a draft land use plan to be managed by the Yukon and Trʼondëk Hwëchʼin First Nation governments. The draft plan includes withdrawing a corridor used by the Fortymile caribou herd from use for quartz mining. The plan covers just under 40 thousand saquare kilometres in the Dawson region. 
13 September 2022 | cbc north

Transplanting lichen to grow food for threatened caribou

A news story about a pilot project in British Columbia that is attempting to speed up the recovery of forage in winter range for caribou by transplanting lichen. the range for a local caribou herd has been affected my mountain pine beetle infestations, fires, and other distrubances that have reduced the quantity of lichen available for a local caribou herd. The story says that results from the project are "very positive" and that, "Early signs point to this new approach becoming a tool in caribou winter habitat restoration."
21 July 2022 | Prince george citizen

Proposed Meliadine mine extension to be assessed

A mining company is proposing an expansion to its gold mine north of Rankin Inlet, Nunavut. The Agnico Eagle proposal would add wind turbines and an airstrip to the mine. Some local Inuit organization fear the impact on caribou migrations. The proposal is being reviewed by the Nunavut Impact Review Board.
5 July 2022 | Nunatsiaq news

Kudz Ze Kayah approval is a ‘blatant disregard’ of First Nations rights: Ross River Dena Chief

The story is about First Nations' reaction to the approval by the territorial and federal governments of a copper, lead and zinc mine in southeast Yukon. The Ross River Dena Council is concerned about the impact of the mine on the Finlayson caribou herd. The proposed mine is located in an area used by the herd for both rutting and calving. The First Nation chiefs had asked for a panel review of the project.
23 June 2022 | Yukon News

Indigenous resource management guarantees cultural survival, with the benefits passed on to everyone

An opinion piece talking about the place of Indigenous peoples in economic development and environmental management. The article starts with talking about the centrality of caribou to many Indigenous peoples. "Caribou hold pride of place in many Indigenous cultures, providing a primary source of food and playing vital roles in community life. They are also a touchstone species – when threatened, a decline in their well-being is an early indicator of impending ecological collapse. "
14 June 2022 | Macdonald laurier institute

Once eager to drill, oil companies exit leases in Arctic refuge

Three big oil firms have pulled out of oil drilling leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. The refuge is the calving grounds for the porcupine caribou herd that migrates between between Alaska, Yukon, and the Northwest Territories. Drilling in the area has been a contested issue for decades. The Gwich'in people who rely on the herd have been vocal opponents of drilling in the area.
3 June 2022 | Washington Post


A story about how British Columbia has restricted caribou and moose hunting in part of the province in response to a 2021 court ruling on the treaty rights of First Nation. "The court said the province failed to maintain the nation's rights to hunt, fish and trap without interference. While no single project had a devastating effect on the community, the court said the cumulative impact of a series of projects limited the nation's ability to maintain its rights." Critics quoted in the story say the province has failed to deal with the larger problem of cumulative effects of industrial impacts.
24 May 2022 | CBC

Caribou protection called most problematic area of draft land-use plan

The news story says "The Nunavut Planning Commission says caribou protection is the top concern it hears about when it comes to its draft land-use plan." Hearings on the land use plan are scheduled until January 2023.
12 May 2022 | Nunatsiaq News

Ottawa making good on threat to unilaterally protect Quebec caribou: minister

This is about the Canadian Enivronment Minister's plans to use the Species at Risk Act to protect woodland caribou habitat in Quebec, but is also significant for other caribou as this is the first time the federal government has given notice that it intends to use such powers.
21 April 2022 | Canadian Press

Protection du caribou : Ottawa prépare une offensive inédite contre Québec

A French-language news story about a letter from Canada's Environment Minister ot the government of Quebec discussing the potential of using the federal species at risk act to protect woodland caribou in Quebec, if provincial protections are found to be insufficient. This is a measure some conservationists have been advocating. There are estimated to be just over 5200 woodland caribou left in the province.
12 April 2022 | Radio Canada

ENR debuts first of five regional plans designed to protect boreal caribou habitat

This news story is about a government of the Northwest Territories interim plan to protect boreal (woodland) caribou in part of the territory. The government has split the territory into five management regions and this interim plan applies to only one of the regions, the Wek’èezhı̀ı. The interim plan sets limits for habitat disturbance. There are an estimated 6,000 to 7,000 boreal caribou in the territory. They are designated “threatened” by both the federal and NWT governments.
29 March 2022 | Northern News Services

Tłı̨chǫ Gov't says caribou herds need 'balance' between conservation, harvesting, industry

A news article that talks about the need to balance the pressures on Northwest Territories caribou herds. The article notes that the Bluenose East herd seem to be recovering, while the Bathurst herd contniues to decline.  
14 March 2022 | CBC north

Another deplorable failure to truly address First Nations rights and issues

A news release announcing that two Innu First Nations [the Innu First Nation Council of Essipit and Pekuakamiulnuatsh Takuhikan Pekuakamiulnuatsh Takuhikan (Pekuakamiulnuatsh First Nation)] have filed a lawsuit against the Government of Quebec, "for failure to fulfill its duty to consult on issues related to the protection of Atiku, the caribou." The First Nations say the government is procrastinating on caribou protection measures, resulting in cultural loss and jeopardizing Aboriginal rights.  
28 February 2022 | Cision

Caribou cams give insight into secret lives

A news story describing research conducted on the Fortymile caribou herd that involved fitting caribou with GPS collars that also incorporated video cameras. The cameras captured snapshots of what the caribou were feeding on, and other behaviours.
16 February 2022 | Alaska Native News

Genetic legacy of last glaciation influences reindeer's seasonal migrations

This news release is about a new study that cross referenced GPS tracked movements and genetics of caribou, and found genes thought to be associated with migratory behaviour. The genetic differences are thought to spring from a genetic division during the last ice age, when populations were physically separated by ice sheets. The study authors say this has implications for possible loss of migratory behaviours if genes are lost through shrinking populations.
11 February 2022 | Science Daily

The biggest land use plan in the world: how Nunavut is putting mining and conservation on the map

This longer story is about the Nunavut land use plan. The draft plan designates key caribou habitat such as calving areas as "limited use" effectively closing them off to industrial development such as mining. The plan has been in development for fifteen years, and is now considered close to completion.
18 January 2022 | The Narwhal

Boreal Caribou Range Management plan in development

A news story about the ongoing consultations led by the Government of the Northwest Territories to produce five regional management plans for boreal caribou conservation. The story says the plans will map out caribou habitat into basic, enhanced and intensive protection zones, with the intention of keeping 65% of caribou habitat across the NWT undisturbed. Consultations on the plan will continue during 2022.
17 January 2022 | Inuvik Drum

The ‘new’ face of environmental racism in Quebec

This opinion piece written by the Chief of the Lac Simon First Nation and the head of Greenpeace Canada says the Quebec government's delay in enacting a caribou recovery strategy is envionmental racism. The piece argues that the consequence of the government's inaction "... is the oppression and impoverishment of Indigenous Peoples, forcing them to change their diet and lifestyle, resulting in communities that suffer physically, mentally and spiritually. It’s not just the caribou that are endangered in the boreal forest, it’s the delicate balance that is essential to life."
14 January 2022 | The Narwhal

Beverly and Qamanirjuaq Caribou Management Board seeks to more than double its funding

The lead of the story is that the Beverly and Qamanirjuaq caribou management board is looking to double its budget citing climate change as a complicating factor in conserving the herd. The story also notes that the board is revising its caribou management plan in 2022.
30 December 2021 | cbc north

Shrinking Western Arctic Caribou Herd prompts discussion about future hunting restrictions

The Western Arctic herd in Northwest Alaska has declined by 23% over the past two years. The decline has prompted a working group to change the status of the herd to "preservative declining". the story suggest this "...could lead to a prohibition on the harvest of calves, further limits on the cow harvest for residents and the closure of hunting for nonresidents." there are several reasons discussed for the decline, including a mining road disrupting migration.
20 December 2021 | Anchorage daily news (alaska)

Indigenous groups concerned about Point Lake’s impact on caribou

This news story talks about the concerns raised by Indigenous organizations at a hearing into a potential new diamond development about 300 km northeast of Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories. The Indigenous organization representatives fear that the waste rock from the mine will interfere with the health of the depleted Bathurst caribou herd. The mining company says it has taken measures to ensure that the proposed mine does not significantly impede caribou movement. 
13 December 2021 | cabin radio (NWT)

Arctic lays out environmental plan for Point Lake

This news story talks about the plan for the Arctic Canadian Diamond Company to pursue a new diamond mining project at Point Lake, near the company's existing mine at Ekati. The company plans to try to mitigate the impacts on Caribou of mine infrastructure; "Arctic’s plan includes caribou monitoring, ramps on an access road that will allow caribou to cross, investment of $500,000 over three years in research on the Bathurst caribou herd, and support for an on-the-land culture camp. Arctic’s plan includes caribou monitoring, ramps on an access road that will allow caribou to cross, investment of $500,000 over three years in research on the Bathurst caribou herd, and support for an on-the-land culture camp. "
29 November 2021 | Cabin Radio (NWT)

Remotely-sensed trends in vegetation productivity and phenology during population decline of the Bathurst caribou herd

This is both a written interview, and the same information in audio format with the two authors of a paper that used satellite information to map out changes in vegetation in the range of the Bathurst Caribou (NWT/Nunavut). The satellite data did show changes in the vegetation patterns and the authors are onw traveeling to different places within the herd range to see what those changes look like on the ground. The researchers are curious about whether the vegetation changes might have some influence on the herd's recent drastic decline.
9 November 2021 | Canadian Science Publishing

Caribou populations are dwindling, and we’re in denial about it

An opinion piece from Yukon Conservation Society about the impacts of industrial development on caribou herds. It notes that caribou habitat in Yukon is relatively well-protected.
26 October 2021 | Yukon News

Decades-long plan to protect caribou in Nunavut nearing completion

An online article and associated radio broadcast about the near-completion on the Nunavut Land Use Plan, and its implications for caribou conservation.
13 October 2021 | CBC radio

Yukon at a crossroads with Fortymile caribou herd

This longer news story talks about the past and future of the Fortymile herd, shared between Yukon and Alaska. If raises questions about land use, and also about what constitutes an appropriate or optimal size for a caribou herd.
7 October 2021 | The Narwhal

Caribou are vanishing at an alarming rate. Is it too late to save them?

A magazine-length article giving an overview of some of the challenges facing caribou in Canada, and the impacts of caribou decline. It includes both barren-ground and woodland caribou.
7 September 2021 | Canadian Geographic

The Government of Canada supports Dene Nation initiative to help conserve boreal caribou

This news release announces that the federal government will invest just over a million dollars into a two-year project with the NWT Dene Nation. The project is to "...further Dene Nation work with leaders, Elders, youth, other land users, and knowledge holders to braid Dene Traditional Knowledge together with Western science on the ecology and conservation of boreal caribou [todzi] across the Northwest Territories."
19 July 2021 | Environment and climate change canada

Habitat restoration may be alternative to wolf cull, says study

A news story about research into the effects of seismic lines lines and roads on wolves' access to caribou. The study obstructed some lines and roads with natural barriers, making them more like the surrounding bush. According to the story, encounters between wolves and caribou dropped dramatically where the access routes has been obstructed. The story also quotes a professor of ecology saying "...this study is just the first baby step in looking at whether an alternate approach like this could have the same results as what you see with wolf control."
17 June 2021 | Cabin Radio (NWT)

How eight idle wells might determine the future of oil and gas in Yukon

A proposal to restart testing oil and gas resources in Eagle Plains in northern Yukon is being considered by a territorial board. The areas of the proposed testing overlaps with the wintering area of the Porcupine caribou herd. The proposed project in is Vuntut Gwich'in territory. The first nation says it is anaylzing the project proposal's likely impact on caribou. 
3 June 2021 | The Narwhal

Biden administration puts Arctic refuge leases on ice as it asks for new environmental reviews

A news story about the ongoing controversial potential development of oil and gas in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. This Alaskan refuge contains the calving grounds of the Porcupine caribou herd. Oil and gas leases in the refuge were approved in the dying days of the previous US administration. The current administration has suspended the leases pending review that  that may recommend the leases are “reaffirmed, voided, or subject to additional mitigation measures”.
1 June 2021 | Alaska Public Media

Privacy commissioner recommends release of caribou location data

This news article is about the release of old caribou location data in Yukon. The Yukon government had refused to release the data after a privacy request. Yukon's information and privacy commissioner says there is no reason for the government to withhold most of the location records requested.
20 May 2021 | Yukon News

We watch everything: Dene Elders guide effort to save vanishing Arctic caribou

Photo essay about the Ekwǫ̀ Nàxoède K’è: Boots on the Ground program, initiated by the Tłı̨chǫ Government in the Northwest Territories. The program is designed to monitor the dwindling caribou in the region, teach land skills, and pass on culture.
17 May 2021 | the Narwhal

Mass deaths of reindeer on Yamal peninsula might be linked to climate change, scientists believe

Thousands of wild and herded reindeer starved to death last winter on the Yamal Peninsula in the Northwest part of Russia according to this news article. The starvation is blamed on "icing" events, where rain or melting in the snow pack form sheets of ice that the reindeer must dig through to get food. The icing events are linked to climate change, though the article also notes that oil and gas industry facilities have shrunk the forage area available to reindeer.
11 May 2021 | Siberian Times (Russia)

Why Drilling the Arctic Refuge Will Release a Double Dose of Carbon

This online article talks about how caribou grazing may slow climate change. Caribou grazing tends to slow the growth of taller tundra shrubs - these shrubs help permafrost to thaw, which in turn releases more greenhouse gases from the permafrost. It uses this as an argument against drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife refuge, a calving area for the Porcupine caribou herd.
24 February 2021 | yale 360

The delicate art of stabilizing Yukon’s Fortymile caribou herd

A feature-length article on the new management plan for the Fortymile caribou herd in Yukon. The article talks about the role of hunting in managing the herd size, and the comanagement plans for the herd split between the Yukon government and the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in First Nation.
21 December 2020 | The Narwhal

Community plans to lead caribou conservation in Sahtú region

This news story is about a decision by the Sahtu Renewable Resources Board (Northwest Territories) to approve a community-led approach to managing caribou. The communities of Colville Lake and Délı̨nę have already developed plans. Once the community plans are fully approved, a "total allowable harvest" quota system administered by the Renewable Resources Board will be lifted, although it can be reimposed if the Board thinks it necessary.
18 November 2020 | CKLB Radio

Canada’s environment minister concerned about Alaska seismic project impacts on Indigenous communities and trans-border wildlife

News item about the concerns raised by Canada's Environment Minister regarding planned development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. The area is the calving ground for the Porcupine Caribou herd that ranges into Yukon and the NWT. Seismic work in the reserve is planned for this winter, stretching into the time when caribou begin arriving in the area for calving.
11 November 2020 | RCI - eye on the Arctic

Quannah Chasinghorse Is Fighting to Save the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

A magazine story about the female Indigenous youth activists involved in the struggle over oil and gas exploitation in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, an area that contains the calving grounds of the Porcupine caribou herd. The story explores the motivation of the activists.
23 September 2020 | teen vogue

Gwich’in file lawsuit against Trump administration to save Arctic Refuge

An article about the lawsuit filed by a coalition of Indigenous and environmental organizations to try to counter plans by the US government to open up the Arctic National Widlife Refuge to oil and gas development. The Refuge on Alaska's Arctic coast covers the calving grounds for the Porcupine caribou herd that migrates between Alaska, Yukon and the Northwest Territories.
8 September 2020 | Inuvik Drum

Seal River Watershed slated to become Indigenous Protected Area

A news release from Environment and Climate Change Canada talking about its $3.2 million investment an Indigenous Protected Area in the Seal River Watershed in Northern Manitoba. This area in a wintering ground for the Beverly and Qamanirjuaq caribou herds. The initiative covers traditional territories of the Cree, Dene and Inuit. 
25 August 2020 | cision

'There's nowhere like it': Alaska's wildlife refuge fears death by drilling

A news story about the Trump administration's plan to open up the Arctic National Widlife Refuge in Alaska to drilling for oil and gas by the end of 2020. The refuge currently protects the calving grounds of the Porcupine caribou herd. The story notes that lawsuits and lack of demand for oil may dampen the propsoect of development in the area.
21 August 2020 | The Guardian

Strategy to help NWT’s beleaguered caribou is released

A news story about a new recovery strategy for barren-ground caribou herds in the NWT.  The strategy was developed by group of governments and regulatory boards, collectively known as the Conference of Management Authorities. The recovery strategy will guide how all NWT herds of barren-ground caribou are managed, with the exception of the Porcupine herd.
10 July 2020 | cabin radio

New framework identifies climate change “refugia” in boreal forest

This magazine article talks about the idea of looking at what places in the northern boreal forest are least likely to change as climate change advances. Areas that change the least ('resilient' areas) are likely to be important for animals adapted to existing conditions such as caribou, so conserving these areas could be a priority.
25 June 2020 | Canadian Geographic

troubled tundra

A long magazine article on the future of the Arctic National Widlife Refuge in Alaska. The refuge is home to the calving grounds of the Porcupine caribou herd that migrates between the Northwest Territories, Yukon and Alaska. The refuge is threatened by a changing climate and by ongoing attempts to open it up for development.
24 June 2020 | earth island journal

Agnico Eagle tries to ease caribou protection measures for Nunavut mine

A news story about a gold-mining company's attempt to loosen restrictions on transporting ore on a haul road when caribou are present. The mining company operates in the Kivalliq region of Nunavut, north of the community of Baker Lake. The region is used by the Qamanirjuaq herd, the largest herd found in Nunavut.
8 June 2020 | Nunatsiaq News

Northern Indigenous leaders meet with banks to persuade them not to invest in Arctic energy development

First Nation has long fought repeated attempts at oil exploration that would affect a vital caribou herd, which they say is crucial to their way of life
18 December 2019 | Financial Post

Indigenous governments strike agreement permitting shared management, harvest of Porcupine caribou

A 2019 news story about an agreement between Indigenous governments in Yukon and the NWT regarding management of the Porcupine herd.
30 August 2019 | Yukon News

N.W.T. releases plan to protect Bathurst caribou, but some fear it's too late

After years of compromise, discussion and debate, a range plan to protect the dwindling Bathurst caribou herd's lands from overdevelopment was approved by the Northwest Territories government this week.
23 August 2019 | CBC

Porcupine Caribou and ANWR 2018

  Letter from the Canadian Arctic Resources Committee to the Coastal Plain Oil and Gas Leasing Program EIS at the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management opposing proposed development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, calving ground of the Porcupine caribou herd  
16 August 2019 | CARC

Canadian taxpayers on hook for $61 million for road to open up mining in Arctic

A 2019 magazine article on potential impacts on caribou from the Gray’s bay road and port project. Potential impacts on the Bathurst, Bluenose-East, and Dolphin and Union herds are mentioned.
15 August 2019 | The Narwhal

Nunavut, N.W.T. team up on joint caribou management

A 2019 news story on the agreement between the NWT and nunavut governments to better manage the Bathurst and Bluenose-East
1 May 2019 | Nunatsiaq

Communities 'supporting each other' to conserve Bluenose East herd

A 2019 news story that includes suggestions that wolves are to blame for summer range losses for two NWT caribou herds. The story also talks about Indigenous management.
11 April 2019 | CBC

Blanket protection for Nunavut caribou not the only option: wildlife biologist

A 2019 news story focusing on Nunavut caribou populations that questions the effectiveness of protected areas on caribou conservation in the territory.
5 April 2019 | Nunatsiaq News

Across Canada, caribou are on course for extinction, a prominent expert warns. What happens after that?

While the threats caribou face are complex and vary by region, the common denominator is human activity, primarily through resource development and, increasingly, climate change.
29 October 2018 | Globe and Mail

Related resources

Disturbance-mediated changes to boreal mammal spatial networks in industrializing landscapes

This academic paper looks at how disturbance in caribou habitat (such as roads and seismic lines) can have not only direct effects on caribou, but also indirect effects via the several mammal species that interact with caribou. The paper suggests that ecosystem-level monitoring and management (rather than concentrating on individual species) is necessary to adequately capture the effects of habitat disturbance. It further suggests that simple predator control, especially control that focuses on one predator, such as wolves, may have unintended consequences.

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Format: web

Range managementHuman disturbance

Caribou is Life - BQCMB Caribou Management Plan 2023-2032

This 52 page plan was produced by the Beverly and Qamanirjuaq Caribou Management Board. The plan identifies four priorities for the next ten years: watching the caribou (monitoring the herds' vulnerability to various stressors); respecting the caribou (respectful and sustainable harvest practices); respecting the land (monitoring and managing land use in the herds' range); and community connections (outreach, mentorship, and communication between generations and communities). The plan notes a decline in numbers in both herds. The Qamanirjuaq herd is down from 496,000 in 1994 to 252,900 in 2022, the Beverly herd from 276,000 in 1994 to 103,400 in 2018. The plan also includes a list of activities to be taken over the next ten years by a variety of governments, organizations, and people to improve the prospect for the herds.
Beverly and Qamanirjuaq Caribou Management Board (2024)

A taste of space: Remote animal observations anddiscrete-choice models provide new insights into foragingand density dynamics for a large subarctic herbivore

An academic paper describing results from anaylzing footage from cameras on caribou collars. The paper focuses on the sorts of food that caribou of the Fortymile herd are eating. This information is important in selecting conservation areas, and in understanding how caribou diets (and numbers) might change in response to climat change.

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Barren-groundFortymileRange managementClimate changeHuman disturbance

Population genetics of caribou in the Alaska-Yukon border region: implications for designation of conservation units and small herd persistence

An academic paper giving results from the genetics of carious caribou herds near the Yukon/Alaska border, including the Fortymile herd. This is important for conservation purposes, as the papr notes, "Canada classified caribou Designatable Units (DUs) for conservation in 2011, but lacked the genetic data needed to assess herds in the central Yukon...".However, the study was unable to definitvely assign the Fortymile herd to the barrenground caribou 'designatable unit' finding that the herd shared genetics with some northern mountain caribou herds.

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PorcupineBarren-groundFortymileRange managementManagement

consensus agreement respecting implementation of the management plan for northern mountain caribou in the NWT

This is an implementation agreement for the northern mountain caribou management plan in the Northwest Territories. The plan is implemented by the Gwich'in Renewable Resources Board, the Sahtu Renewable Resources Board, and the Government of the Northwest Territories. Northern mountain caribou are listed as a 'species of special concern' nationally and in the NWT. The implementation lays out what parts of the management plan will be fully implemented, and what parts require additional resources.

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Range managementClimate changeHuman disturbanceHunting

Designated Office Evaluation Report Casino-Rude Road Construction Project

This is a recommendation by a Yukon assessment organization that denies a proposal for a new mining road that would affect two caribou herds, the Fortymile and the Klaza. The recommendation for the road project to not be allowed to proceed was based on a determination that,  "...the Project will result in, or is likely to result in significant adverse effects to Ungulates and Traditional Land Use than cannot be mitigated." The recommendation now goes to the Yukon Government and the federal Deprtment of Fisheries and Oceans for a decision. There is no direct link to this 72-page report prepared by the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board (YESAB). The report is titled "recommendation" and is found under the "documents" tab after following the link to the project on the YESAB site.

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FortymileRange managementHuman disturbance

Caribou as Forest Protectors

An online magazine story generally about caribou and indigenous conservation, it contains a section dealing with the Porcupine herd, quoting Joe Tetlichi, Chair of the Porcupine Caribou Management Board. He discusses climate change, development pressures on the herd's range, hunting management, and the importance of mobilizing Indigenous knowledge.


This is a conference poster that describes the four-year project to document the Cape Churchill caribou herd. The project uses trail cameras to monitor the herd, and high school students are involved in the analysis.The project also includes fieldwork that measure such things as permafrost depth and vegetation cover in the herd's range.

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Format: pdf

Eastern MigratoryCape ChurchillRange managementClimate change

Mapping and Modelling Summer and Winter Range use of the Eastern Migratory Cape Churchill Caribou: Bridging Trail Cameras and Community-Based Approaches

a confer4nce poster describing a collaborative project (University of Saskatchewan, Manitoba Métis Federation, Wapusk National Park) to define the summering and wintering areas of the Cape Churchill caribou herd. The co-developed project methodology uses trail cameras to establish presence of the herd at different places over different seasons.

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Format: pdf

Eastern MigratoryCape ChurchillRange management

Why didn’t the caribou (Rangifer tarandus groenlandicus) cross the winter road? The effect of industrial traffic on the road-crossing decisions of caribou

An academic article (not open access) that reports on a study that monitored the behaviour of collared caribou next to a winter road in the Northwest Territories used for mine access. The study found, "Caribou rarely crossed the road when any level of traffic was present; the level of traffic, not the road right-of-way, was the underlying explanatory factor for that behavioural decision." The authors suggest that adjusting traffic levels and frequencies might help mitigate the effect on caribou.
springer (2023)

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Barren-groundRange managementHuman disturbance

The influence of postfire recovery and environmental conditions on boreal vegetation

This academic paper looks at previously burned forest in the Northwest Territories to see how vegetation recovers. The study found that summar forage might improve for woodland caribou (when they eat more grasses), but lichens (a major winter food for woodland caribou, and also barren ground caribou) will likely decrease with increased incidence of fires.

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Range managementClimate change

The Candid Caribou Project

A 3':21" video explaining research being done with trail cameras in Wapusk National Park. The trail cameras are helping to monitor the abundance and behaviours of the Cape Churchill caribou herd. The videos gives a breif overview of the project, and some messages about the importance of caribou at the end.

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Barren-groundCape ChurchillRange management

Climate-informed forecasts reveal dramatic local habitat shifts and population uncertainty for northern boreal caribou

This academic paper looks at climate-driven changes in wildfire and vegetation in parts of the Northwest Territories, and the impacts of those changes on woodland caribou. The authors modelled the likely effects of climate change on caribou populations in the region and found that, "...habitat suitability may increase in central and southwest regions of the NWT's Taiga Plains ecozone but decrease in southern and northwestern regions driven by conversion of coniferous to deciduous forests. We do not project that boreal caribou population growth rates will change despite forecasted changes to habitat suitability."

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Range managementClimate change


These posters all contain the same information in different languages (Tlicho, South Slavey, North Slavey, English) about climate driven changes in the future habitat for woodland caribou in the Northwest Territories. The information is based on an academic paper that can also be found in the resources section on this site (Climate-informed forecasts reveal dramatic local habitat shifts and population uncertainty for northern boreal caribou).
Frances Stewart (2023)

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Range managementClimate change

Nunavut Impact Review Board Issues Reconsideration Report and Recommendations for Agnico Eagle Mines Limited’s “Meliadine Extension” Project Proposal, related to the Meliadine Gold Mine Project

A news release from the Nunavut Impact review board giving its reasons for turning down a request for a gold mine extension in Nunavut. The request from the Meliadine gold mine north of Rankin inlet would have added 11 years to the mine life, according to the mine owners. The review board highlighted potential effects of the mine expansion on the Qamairjuaq caribou herd and the people who rely on the herd; "...the Board noted high levels of uncertainty as to whether existing or modified mitigation measures would be sufficiently protective to prevent or manage negative effects from the Extension Proposal on caribou; especially when considering critical calving and post-calving periods. The Board also acknowledges that unpredicted negative impacts on caribou would have immediate negative effects on the ability of Inuit, Dene and Denesuline reliant on this herd to harvest caribou, which could have devastating and lasting effects on livelihood, health and culture."
Nunavut Impact Review Board (NIRB) (2023)

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Beverly and QaminirjuaqBarren-groundRange managementHuman disturbance

Shifting trails: the shrinking range of Bathurst Caribou

An excellent new web-based resource including maps and multimedia that gives a clear description of the challenges faced by the endangered Bathurst caribou herd, and the impacts of the herd's decline on the Tłı̨chǫ. The Tłı̨chǫ are a first nation whose territories to the north of Great Slave Lake overlap with the wintering range of the Bathurst herd. This site is a good case study of the challenges facing this herd and other barren ground caribou herds.
"Fate of the Caribou" project and partners (2023)

Effects of vehicle traffic on space use and road crossings of caribou in the Arctic

This academic paper examined the influence of traffic volume on how caribou in Alaska's Central Arctic Herd used their summer range and road crossings. The area studied is crossed by roads to service two oil fields on the North Slope. Previous sudies had suggested that 15 vehicles per hour was the level at which the caribou tended to avoid roads areas and road crossings, but the new study suggests that use of areas near roads picks up when traffic is less than 5 vehicles per hour. The study also fund that insect harassment seemed to be a factor too - when insect harassment was higher, caribou were less likely to be deterred by roads and traffic.

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Barren-groundRange managementHuman disturbance

Inuit Co-management Led Research

A web page (with further links) documenting variousinitiatives undertaken by the Torngat Wildlife and Plants Co-management Board that focus on caribou. The three herds covered are the George River herd, The Mealy Mountain herd, and the Torngat Mountain herd, all of which occur in Nunatsiavut territory (Labrador, Canada). The page provides a useful overview of the relationship of local Inuit with caribou, and provides insight into "co-management led research".

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Format: web

Eastern MigratoryGeorge RiverRange managementPeople

Caribou and Wind Turbines Annotated Bibliography

A 75-page annotated bibliography (this means the original sources are summarized) of sources for information about the effects of wind turbines on caribou. This was a project by Heather Hayne for WWF Canada.

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Format: pdf

Barren-groundRange managementClimate changeHuman disturbance

Large herbivores facilitate the persistence of rare taxa under tundra warming

An academic paper about an experiment in Greenland that found grazing by caribou and muskox may help protect local plant biodiversity in a warming climate. Without grazing, more common shrub species, like dwarf birch and willow become more dominant. 
Scientific Reports (2022)

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Range managementClimate change

Wapusk National Park

A federal government (Parks Canada) blog post about the work of one of its employees includes information about efforts to promote caribou conservation within Wapusk National Park (in northern Manitoba close to Churchill). The post talks about workshops that brought together "Indigenous communities, various levels of government, academic researchers and local communities as a structured way to share Indigenous Knowledge and western science perspectives related to caribou in Wapusk National Park and the Greater Wapusk Ecosystem". One outcome of the workshops was a collaborative project to place more than 90 trail cameras in the park to capture caribou movements.
Parks Canada (2022)

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Cape ChurchillRange managementPeople

The importance of ranges and habitat for the Porcupine Caribou Herd

A good simple and visually interesting web page/infographic that explains the importance of the different parts of the Porcupine caribou herd range. Ideal for younger audiences as a learning tool. Although specific to the Porcupine herd, it could also be used to explain the importance of range for other migratory caribou herds.

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Format: web

PorcupineBarren-groundRange managementNatural factors

Kǫ̀k’etı̀: Walking with Caribou

A beautifully shot 24':46" film that follows Indigenous Ekwǫ̀ Nàxoèhdee K’è caribou monitors in the Northwest Territories as they follow the Bathurst caribou herd to try to understnad the herd's decline. The film shows the Tłı̨chǫ people’s relationship with the caribou, and documents the passing on of knowledge about the land and the herd.

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Format: video

Barren-groundBathurstRange managementPeople

bibliography of sources for caribou and wind turbines

This is a bibliography of sources (both academic and grey literature) that discuss the impact of wind turbines on caribou/reindeer. The resources were compiled by Heather Hayne for WWF Canada.

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Format: pdf

Barren-groundRange managementThreatsClimate changeHuman disturbance

Caribou and wind turbines (Kivalliq region) - an overview of available information

A 22 slide presentation (exported as a pdf) providing an overview of effects of wind turbine development on Caribou. As the presentation points out, there is little information directly on the effects of wind turbines, so a lot of the information covers the effects of potential related disturbance. The presentation is related to plans to install wind turbines in the Nunavut communities of Baker Lake, Arviat and Rankin Inlet. The presentation was the result of a project by Heather Hayne for WWF Canada.

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Format: presentation

Beverly and QaminirjuaqBarren-groundRange managementClimate changeHuman disturbance

The Effect of Traffic Levels on the Distribution and Behaviour of Calving Caribou in an Arctic Oilfield

14 page (without reference list) academic journal article on the effects of traffic and infrastructure on the behaviour of calving caribou from the Central Arctic (barren ground) herd in Alaska. The paper concludes, "some behavioral disturbance and displacement of maternal caribou during calving still occur with convoying of traffic and low traffic frequency. Convoying may reduce the amount of displacement during periods between convoys, which could improve crossing success."

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PorcupineBarren-groundRange managementHuman disturbance

Update on the global status of wild reindeer and caribou

This online article gives a relatively brief overview of the status of wild caribou and reindeer around the circumpolar world. There are some bright spots, but, "At the global scale, the historical trend continues with declining abundance and contracting distribution for most Rangifer populations." The global population of wild caribou and reindeer is estimated ar 2.43 million, down from 2.8 million in 2016.

Collaborative Research and Monitoring of Migratory Eastern Cape Churchill Caribou: Linking Wapusk National Park and an Indigenous Conservation Protected Area

A recorded presentation by several people (41:40 to end of presentation, 57:43 to end of questions) about the Cape Churchill herd and plans for its further conservation. The presentation description says, "The summer range of the Cape Churchill herd is almost completely protected by Wapusk National Park, however the winter range is largely unprotected, existing outside of the park boundaries. The development of a proposed Indigenous Protected Conservation Area (IPCA), led by the Manitoba Métis Federation is a priority goal of our group, with caribou being its focal species." The part of the presentation focused on caribou conservation starts at about 07:00.

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Eastern MigratoryCape ChurchillRange management

Evaluating the impact of caribou habitat restoration on predator and prey movement

An academic paper that looks at the impact on caribou numbers of trying to return seismic lines back to a more natural state. The research found that restoration on seismic lines in northern Alberta slowed wolved and caribou. The assumption is that if both wolves and caribou move more slowly along these sites, it will reduce the likelihood that they run across each other, and so reduce the numbers of caribou killed. The paper suggests further research to test that assumption.

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Range managementHuman disturbance

Government of Canada invests $3.8 million to support barrenground caribou conservation in the Northwest Territories

A news release from the Canadian government department of Environment and Climate Change announcing an investment in three caribou projects of $3.8 million, to be matched equally by the government of the Northwest Territories. the releqase says the projects, "will monitor barren-ground caribou, their habitats, and threats that may be affecting herds in the Northwest Territories by using Indigenous and Western science and knowledge. Projects also aim to conserve and protect barren-ground caribou populations and their habitats by working to minimize human and predator impacts, and identifying important barren-ground caribou habitats such as calving grounds and migratory routes for conservation." The release doesn't mention the exact nature of the projects, or the period over which the money will be paid out.
Environment and Climate Change Canada (2022)

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Barren-groundRange managementClimate changeHuman disturbanceNatural factors

A decision support tool for assessing cumulative effects on an Arctic migratory tundra caribou population

This academic paper uses a "caribou cumulative effects model" to examine what would happen to the Porcupine Caribou herd if oil and gas development took place in the herd's calving grounds. It concludes that the likelihood of a decline in the herd would move from 3% to 19% over the next tend years, depending on the development secenario.
ecology and Society (2021)

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PorcupineBarren-groundRange managementHuman disturbance

Caribou and reindeer migrations in the changing Arctic

This academic paper looks at factors that affect caribou migration, including climate change and development. it concludes, "...we recommend that large areas of undeveloped critical habitat, like calving grounds, be protected to conserve Rangifer. Where barriers exist, or will exist, migrations will be altered or lost."
Animal Migration (2021)

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Barren-groundRange managementClimate changeHuman disturbanceNatural factors

Critical summer foraging tradeoffs in a subarctic ungulate

This 38-page academic paper looks at the summer diet of the Fortymile caribou herd that ranges between Yukon and Alaska. It uses video from collars on the nimals to analyze what they're eating, and other behaviours such as avoiding insects. The video confirmed a sharp decline in eating when insects such as mosquitoes were more present, and also confirmed that lichen is an important component of the herd's diet, even in summer.
ecology and evolution (Wiley) (2021)

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Barren-groundFortymileRange managementClimate change


This 11 page document is the agreement by the NWT management authorities responsible for the northern population of mountain caribou (woodland caribou in northern mountain habitat) to add the caribou as "a species of Special Concern" under the NWT Species at Risk Act. The report says that Indigenous knowledge indicates that the population is in decline and that "...northern mountain caribou have the potential to become Threatened if the effects of climate change continue within their habitat and localized threats are not managed effectively."

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Managing huntingRange managementClimate changeHuman disturbanceHunting

Predicting patterns of terrestrial lichen biomass recovery following boreal wildfires

This academic paper looks at lichens, an important food for caribou. It examines the current distribution of lichens, and also the recovery time for lichens after forest fires. This varies according to climate and the dominant trees in the area.
Ecosphere (2021)

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Barren-groundRange managementClimate change

Estimation of trends in zone of influence of mine sites on barren-ground caribou populations in the Northwest Territories, Canada, using new methods

An academic study looking at how much diamond mines in the Northwest Territories influence habitat used by barren-ground caribou. The study showed these effects varied from year to year. the paper says, "The exact mechanisms that cause caribou to avoid mines, roads and oilfields has not been clearly identified. "

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Barren-groundBathurstRange managementHuman disturbance

Historical Landscape Use of Migratory Caribou: New Insights From Old Antlers

This academic paper uses shed antlers from the Central Arctic Caribou herd in Alaska to trace the herd's historical movements. The analysis shows the herd shifting its range at the same time as oil development was starting to occur in the herd's range.

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Format: web

Barren-groundRange managementHuman disturbance

Large‐scale prion protein genotyping in Canadian caribou populations and potential impact on chronic wasting disease susceptibility

This academic paper is about chronic wasting disease, a brain disease that affects members of the deer family. It has not been found in Canadian caribou yet, but has been found in deer. The genetic makeup of different caribou subspecies is thought to influence their vulnerability to chronic wasting disease. This paper suggests that barren-ground caribou may be less vulnerable than the woodland and mountain caribou.

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Barren-groundRange managementNatural factors

Interchange and Overlap Among Four Adjacent Arctic Caribou Herds

This academic paper looks at four barren-ground caribou herds in Alaska (including the Porcupine herd that ranges into northern Canada) to try to understand how often individuals change herds. Of the four herds studied, the Porcupine herd had the lowest incidence of caribou joining another herd. The authors concluded, "There was greater herd interchange from the 2 smaller herds to the 2 larger herds, indicating a tendency of caribou to join larger groups or move to areas of higher caribou density."

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PorcupineBarren-groundRange management

Boreal Caribou Can Coexist with Natural but Not Industrial Disturbances

An academic paper looking at the cumulative impacts of industrial development on woodland caribou in Alberta. The paper concludes that caribou populations are being driven down by the cumulative effects of industrial development, mostly related to oil and gas
the journal of wildlife management (2020)

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Range managementHuman disturbance

Fall supplemental feeding increases population growth rate of an endangered caribou herd

A 25-page academic paper that describes an experimental approach to increasing the size of a woodland caribou herd in British Columbia. Over several years, researchers fed caribou in the fall to help females survive winter and produce healthy calves. The study found, "The Consumption of supplemental food probably improved their nutritional status which ultimately led to population growth."

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Managing predatorsRange management

Interview on Advisory Committee for Cooperation on Wildlife Management

Ever wonder how different jurisdictions cooperate on caribou management? Here's one example. An interview with Jody Pellissey, Executive Director of the Wekʼèezhìi Renewable Resources Board about the Advisory Committee for Cooperation on Wildlife Management (ACCWM). It was created to share information and coordinate wildlife management between wildlife management boards in the NWT and Nunavut, with a particular focus on the management of transboundary caribou herds.


This 70-page recovery strategy for barren-gound caribou in the Northwest Territories lays out plans to help the eight herds covered by the strategy. The strategy was required by the NWT Species at Risk Act after the barren-ground caribou were listed as "threatened" in 2018. The governments and co-management boards that developed the strategy have until April 9, 2021 to agree on the implementation of the recovery strategy. 
Conference of Management Authorities (2020)

Extirpation despite regulation? Environmental assessment and caribou

This is an academic paper, but written in accessible language about the shortcomings of environmental assessment as a tool for caribou conservation. It concentrates mostly on woodland caribou, but the discussion is broadly applicable to any developments in caribou habitat.
Conservation Science and Practice (2020)

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Range managementResourcesHuman disturbance

caribou and sea ice crossings near Gjoa Haven

This is part of a project website (www.straightupnorth.ca) for community-based research in Inuit Nunangat (areas where Inuit live in Canada). The caribou project looked at caribou's use of ice crossings near Gjoa Haven, Nunavut, and how changing sea ice conditions and ship traffic could affect those crossings.

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Range managementClimate changeHuman disturbance

State-dependent foraging by caribou with different nutritional requirements

A 14-page academic paper that examines the connection between the physiological state of caribou and how they feed. The paper says, "Foraging time by caribou was partially state-dependent, highlighting the importance of accounting for physiological state in studies of animal behavior. Fine-scale foraging behaviors may influence larger-scale behavioral strategies, with potential implications for conservation and management."
Journal of Mammalogy (2020)

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Range managementResources

advisory committee for cooperation on wildlife management

This is the site for the Advisory Committee for Cooperation on Wildlife Management. It was established to exchange information, help develop cooperation and consensus, and make recommendations regarding wildlife and wildlife habitat issues that cross land claim and treaty boundaries in the Northwest Territories. The committee includes the Wildlife Management Advisory Council (NWT), Gwich’in Renewable Resources Board, Ɂehdzo Got’ı̨nę Gots’ę́ Nákedı (Sahtú Renewable Resources Board), Wek’èezhìi Renewable Resources Board, Kitikmeot Regional Wildlife Board, and Tuktut Nogait National Park Management Board. The ACCWM covers three caribou herds, the Bluenose east and west herds, and Cape Bathurst.

Łutsël K’é Dene First Nation’s Caribou Stewardship Plan

A 47-page 2020 Caribou stewardship plan from the Łutsël K’é Dene First Nation (NWT). The “Yúnethé Xá Ɂetthën Hádı” plan covers the Bathurst, Beverly, Ahiak, and Qamanirjuaq herds.
Łutsël K’é Dene First Nation (2020)

Biotic interactions govern the distribution of coexisting ungulates in the Arctic Archipelago – A case for conservation planning

An academic paper looking at what might best predict habitat for Peary caribou and muskox in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. the paper models what it considers likely key habitat for both species in late winter, and notes that most of this habitat is outside of protected areas.

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PearyRange managementClimate change

Ice breakers in the Arctic: Let’s talk Inuit safety

A commentary co-written by the Wildlife Conservation Society and the Ekaluktutiak Hunters and Trappers Organization about an initiative to avoid or minimize the impact of icebreakers in Arctic Canada. The Proactive Vessel Management initiative in Cambridge Bay (Ikaluktutiak) used information from local people to create something called a "Notice to Mariners" that gives people in icebreaking boats advice of how best to avoid times or places when local people or caribou are crossing the sea ice, or to minimize any threat posed by icebreaking.
wildlife conservation society/Ekaluktutiak HTO (2020)

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PearyDolphin and UnionRange managementClimate changeHuman disturbance

Public opinion about caribou protection in Canada’s North

A 2019 poll on protection of caribou. The poll of people in northern regions was commissioned by WWF Canada. It found almost 90% wanted protection for caribou calving grounds.
WWF (2019)

Format: pdf

Range management

Barren-ground Caribou Co-Management in the NWT

A 21-page booklet explaining the different responsibilities and authroities for managing all of the barren-ground caribou herds in the NWT. It includes information on responsibilities for herds that cross borders.
Government of the Northwest Territories (2019)

Recovery strategy for Barren-Ground caribou

This 62-page 2019 draft recovery strategy for barren-ground caribou in the NWT was produced by the group of wildlife boards and governments responsible for the conservation and recovery of species at risk in the NWT.
Government of the Northwest Territories (2019)

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Format: pdf

Barren-groundManaging huntingManaging predatorsRange management

WRRB Reasons for Decision Final Report – Kǫ̀ k’èetı̀ ekwǫ̀ (Bathurst Caribou) Herd

A 2019 report from the Wek’èezhìı Renewable Resources Board detailing its response to management plans for the Bathurst herd put forward by the Tlicho Government and the Government of the Northwest Territories.
Wekʼèezhìi Renewable Resources Board (WRRB) (2019)


this 48 page report is part of a multi-year monitoring plan designed to assess the effects on caribou of construction and operation of the Keeyask hydro project. The project is on the Nelson River in Northeast Manitoba. The project area is used by the qamanirjuaq herd, as well as two herds of Eastern migratory caribou in the Hudson Bay region. The report concludes that it is difficult to tell what influence the project has had on caribou crossing affected water bodies, but that it appears construction access roads had minimal impacts on their movements.


This 8-page document from 2019 is a simple summary of the Bathurst caribou range plan.
Government of the Northwest Territories (2019)

Management Plan for Dolphin and Union Caribou in the NWT and Nunavut

This long 2018 management plan for Dolphin and Union Caribou is a joint effort between the NWT and Nunavut governments in cooperation with the Canadian government and several other organizations from both Nunavut and the Inuvialuit settlement area.  It details threats and proposed management actions.
Government of the Northwest Territories (2018)

Inuit Approaches to Naming and Distinguishing Caribou: Considering Language, Place, and Homeland toward Improved Co-management

An academic paper describing how the people of Uqsuqtuuq (Gjoa Haven) in Nunavut describe different sorts of caribou. These don't match up with how biologists describe the herds. The authors suggest that a better understanding of how local people describe caribou would help in management of the herds.

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Barren-groundPearyRange managementPeople

Population structure of caribou in an ice-bound archipelago

This 2018 academic paper suggests that, based on genetics, the Baffin Island population of caribou should be treated as a separate “designatable unit” under the classification system for the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). This would have implications for management of caribou on the island.

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Baffin IslandRange management

Action Plan for the Cape Bathurst Caribou Herd

A 62-page action plan for the Cape Bathurst herd prepared by the wildlife management boards with stewardship responsibilities for barren-ground caribou and their habitat in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. This is a follow-up to the 2014 management plan, "Taking Care of Caribou".
Wekʼèezhìi Renewable Resources Board (WRRB) (2017)

Action Plan for the Bluenose-East Caribou Herd

A 56-page action plan for the Bluenose-east herd prepared by the wildlife management boards with stewardship responsibilities for barren-ground caribou and their habitat in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. This is a follow-up to the 2014 management plan, "Taking Care of Caribou".
Wekʼèezhìi Renewable Resources Board (WRRB) (2017)

Action Plan for the Bluenose-West Caribou Herd

A 62-page action plan for the Bluenose-west herd prepared by the wildlife management boards with stewardship responsibilities for barren-ground caribou and their habitat in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. This is a follow-up to the 2014 management plan, "Taking Care of Caribou".
Wekʼèezhìi Renewable Resources Board (WRRB) (2017)

A long time ago in the future: caribou and the people of Ungava

This document is the 2017 Ungava Peninsula Caribou Aboriginal Round Table strategy, devised by the several indigenous governments and organizations that share the herds. It has five action plans, listed in order of priority: 1) Indigenous Sharing Agreement; 2) Research and Monitoring Plan; 3) Habitat Management and Environmental Impact Plan; 4) Stewardship,Engagement, and Communication Plan; and, 5) Social and Economic Plan
NunatuKavut Community Council (2017)

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Managing huntingRange management

COSEWIC Assessment and Status Report on the Caribou (Rangifer tarandus), Barren-ground population in Canada - 2016

The 2016 assessment report on barren-ground caribou prepared by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Species in Canada (COSEWIC). It is a long, thorough and quite technical overview. It resulted in the Canadian populations of barren-ground caribou being designated “threatened” under the federal government system
Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS) (2016)

Technical Report on Cape Bathurst, Bluenose-West and Bluenose-East Caribou Herds

A 90-page 2016 report presenting scientific knowledge and status of the Cape Bathurst, BluenoseWest and Bluenose-East caribou herds and gaps in knowledge.  One of two companion documents to "Taking Care of Caribou: The Cape Bathurst, Bluenose-West and Bluenose-East Caribou Herds Management Plan"
Government of the Northwest Territories (2016)

Joint Management Proposal for Bathhurst Caribou

A 2015 joint management proposal for the Bathurst caribou herd developed by the Tlicho Government and the government of the Northwest Territories. The plan covers 2016 to 2019, and recommends no harvesting of the herd, wolf control, and better monitoring of the herd
Wekʼèezhìi Renewable Resources Board (WRRB) (2015)

We have been Living with the Caribou all our Lives: a report on information recorded during community meetings

A 196-page report from 2014 from The Advisory Committee for Cooperation on Wildlife Management (a collection of wildlife management/renewable resources boards from the NWT and Nunavut). This report details community input to a management plan for the Cape Bathurst, Bluenose-West, and Bluenose-East herds
Advisory Committee for Cooperation on Wildlife Management (2014)

Engaging Bluenose Caribou Communities

This lengthy 2014 report contain notes from all the community meetings that fed into the management plan for three herds (Bluenose-East and West and Cape Bathurst). It is the result of consultation sessions in 17 communities in the NWT and Nunavut. It contains much Indigneous knowledge about the caribou, but the report cautions that it “...should not be seen as a complete record of the traditional and community knowledge that exists about these caribou.”
Wekʼèezhìi Renewable Resources Board (WRRB) (2014)

FINAL REPORT of the Panel for the Substituted Environmental Impact Review of the Hamlet of Tuktoyaktuk, Town of Inuvik and GNWT - Proposal to Construct the Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk Highway

A long 2013 environmental impact assessment report on the construction of the Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk highway. The consideration of impacts on caribou, and board recommendations on dealing with these impacts begins on page 93.
Impact Assessment Agency of Canada (2013)

Working together for Baffin Island Caribou

A brief 2013 workshop report which examines the causes and impacts of the decline of caribou on Baffin Island, and suggests some management measures.
Government of Nunavut (2013)

Beverly and Qamanirjuaq Caribou Management Plan 2013-2022

A 117-page plan published in 2014, that lays out management for the Beverly and Qamanirjuaq herds. There are also shorter summary versions of this plan available on the management board's website.
Beverly and Qamanirjuaq Caribou Management Board (2013)

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Beverly and QaminirjuaqManaging huntingManaging predatorsRange management

Traditional Knowledge: Barren-ground Caribou in the Northwest Territories

A 2013 report on traditional knowledge of caribou in the Northwest Territories. It covers topics including the peoples’ relationship to caribou, populations and abundance, threats, and management.

Three Decades of Caribou Recovery Programs in Yukon: A Paradigm Shift in Wildlife Management

A relatively brief paper published by the Yukon government in 2009, it summarizes the experience of the managing five different Yukon herds (mostly non-migratory). It suggests that both harvest management and wolf management have been effective methods, and emphasises that managing impacts on herds, such as development and harvest impacts are preferable to costly recovery programs
Yukon Department of Environment (2009)

the refuge

This is a series of podcasts (11 altogether), most about half an hour long, focusing on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, calving ground of the Porcupine caribou herd. This in-depth series looks at the ongoing push to allow oil and gas development in the refuge. It includes the voices of Indigenous peoples who live nearby, and depend on the caribou herd. The series started in 2019, and updates were added in 2020 and 2021.
Threshold (202)

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PorcupineBarren-groundRange managementClimate changeHuman disturbance

Barren-ground co-management in the Northwest Territories

This 20-page document from the Government of the Northwest Territories gives an overview of how co-management bodies in the NWT participate in management of the nine barren-ground caribou herds found in the territory.
Government of the Northwest Territories

Frequently Asked Questions: The Porcupine caribou and development in ANWR

An undated recent “frequently asked questions” document from the Yukon Government on the opening up of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (calving ground of the Porcupine caribou herd) to industrial development.
Yukon Department of Environment

Bathurst Caribou Range Plan - Response

A response by Canadian Arctic Resources Committee to the Bathurst Herd Range Plan
Canadian Arctic Resources Committee (CARC)

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Format: web

BathurstManaging huntingManaging predatorsRange management