From the New York Times comes another object lesson on the effects of unbalanced industrial development . . .
The battle to save the so-called gray ghosts — the only herd of caribou in the lower 48 states — has been lost.
A recent aerial survey shows that this international herd of southern mountain caribou, which spends part of its year in the Selkirk Mountains of northern Idaho and Washington near the Canadian border, has dwindled to just three animals and should be considered “functionally extinct,” experts say.
The Selkirk herd had been disappearing for the last several years.
John Bergenske posted a lengthy, rather sad article to the Wildsite website discussing the problems recovering mountain caribou herds in the southern Selkirk Mountains in Canada. (South of the border, the Selkirks shelter the sole remaining woodland caribou population in the U.S.)
Sometimes, there are just no good solutions . . .
I have been involved with mountain caribou since the 1970’s and as Wildsight since the 90’s when we first sponsored caribou research in the Purcell Mountains. It has been clear since that time that there are no simple solutions or easy answers to mountain caribou recovery.
This is a pretty good story. Montana FWP thought they were going out to retrieve a dead caribou that wandered away from a Canadian herd. Instead, they ended up with a live Caribou on their hands . . .
What started out as an unusual hunt for a dead caribou that wandered south of Eureka from Canada turned out to be an animal rescue mission Thursday for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks biologists.
British Columbia wildlife officials notified the biologists Thursday morning that a recently transplanted cow caribou had wandered into the Pinkham Creek drainage, and its satellite collar was broadcasting a mortality signal that is triggered when the collar doesn’t move for six hours.
Jim Williams, the regional wildlife manager, teamed up with biologists Tim Thier and Tim Manley to retrieve the animal using snowmobiles.