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Plan Released to Help Northern Mountain Caribou in NWT

Norman Baricello Alt text

The Conference of Management Authorities, established under the Species at Risk (NWT) Act to manage and recover species at risk in the Northwest Territories (NWT), has developed a Management Plan for Northern Mountain Caribou in the Northwest Territories.

The management plan released today is the result of a collaborative effort by wildlife management authorities across the range of northern mountain caribou in the NWT. The plan will provide guidance on stewardship and long-term management of northern mountain caribou and their habitat throughout the NWT.

Northern mountain caribou were added to the NWT List of Species at Risk as a species of Special Concern in 2021. These mountain-dwelling caribou are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and disrespectful hunting practices. Loss of key habitat, such as ice patches in the Mackenzie Mountains used to escape insects and cool down in the summer, is already occurring. Mineral exploration is expected to further open access to caribou for hunters and predators.

The NWT management plan is based on the Government of Canada’s management plan for northern mountain caribou, released in 2012. It shares the same goals and objectives as the federal plan. The NWT plan also points to updated information for the NWT available in the 2020 NWT species status report, identifies knowledge gaps and highlights work that is already underway to conserve northern mountain caribou in the NWT.

Automatic prohibitions or protections are not part of the management plan. The management plan does not change quotas, by-laws or regulations already in place. Successful conservation of northern mountain caribou will depend on the commitment and cooperation of the many different groups with responsibility for wildlife management in the NWT, together with NWT residents and visitors. Everyone is encouraged to join in supporting and implementing this plan for the benefit of northern mountain caribou, communities that have traditionally relied on northern mountain caribou, and NWT society as a whole.

The Conference of Management Authorities has until April 28, 2024, to develop a consensus agreement identifying the actions they plan to take to implement the management plan. Management authorities for northern mountain caribou are: Gwich’in Renewable Resources Board, Ɂehdzo Got’ı̨nę Gots’ę́ Nákedı (Sahtú Renewable Resources Board) and Government of the Northwest Territories.

Photo: Northern mountain caribou, Norman Baricello