Study: Beverly caribou decline not as drastic as once feared (“I think habitat deterioration and disturbance is a factor”)

Nunatsiaq News – The Beverly caribou herd lost half its population between 1994 and 2011, a Nunavut government study has found, but the decline is not as bad as officials once feared …

Government-commissioned biologists and 38 community representatives, including 34 Nunavut beneficiaries, two Saskatchewan representatives and two Government of the Northwest Territories’ representatives participated in the field program.

They used cutting-edge digital tools and fly-over visual surveillance of the herd’s calving and foraging grounds for their population estimates – 124,000 Beverly caribou for the summer of 2011.

Reasons for this shift in the calving area are unknown, but it may be related to numerous human and natural factors: range-wide human disturbances, such as road construction and increased hunter access to caribou; harassment by biting insects; food limitations; predation, and forest fires.

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