To save a caribou herd that is at “high risk of local extinction,” British Columbia wildlife managers say they are going to take immediate action to remove its “leading cause of mortality”: wolves.
South Selkirk caribou also wander the high mountains of extreme Northeast Washington, North Idaho and Northwest Montana.
According to an information bulletin from the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations that went out today, with all of 18 South Selkirk woodland caribou left in BC as of last winter, they will kill up to 24 wolves from a helicopter before the snow melts.
Provincial authorities say that six of those 18 ungulates had been radio-collared, and that two — which represent over 10 percent of the herd — were killed by wolves in the past 10 months.
At least one Washington wolf pack could conceivably come under the gun. The Salmo Pack’s range stretches into British Columbia west of BC’s Stagleap Park.
Two other packs in the state overlap where the caribou might hang out in the US in winter, high in the mountains of northern Pend Oreille County, supping on lichen.
BC will also target wolves roaming the range of another herd of the super-rare caribou, in the Peace River area.
Managers say that both actions conform with a wolf management plan adopted last year.