Political Leaders Meet to Discuss Declines in Bathurst and Bluenose-East Barrenground Caribou Herds

Aug 29 2014

YELLOWKNIFE (August 29, 2014) – Political leaders from Aboriginal Governments, the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) and wildlife management authorities met in Yellowknife this week to discuss the continued decline of the Bluenose-East and Bathurst barren ground caribou herds.

Environment and Natural Resources (ENR) Minister J. Michael Miltenberger called the meeting after receiving results from the June 2014 reconnaissance surveys of the calving grounds for both herds.

“The trends from these surveys suggest that both herds are declining at an alarming rate,” said Miltenberger.  “As leaders and managers, there is a need for us to review the current information about both herds and determine together, the management actions needed to help in their recovery and conservation.”

Reconnaissance surveys are undertaken once a year to determine trends in herd size. Population surveys are done every three years to determine the herd size.

The Bathurst herd numbered about 470,000 in 1986 and declined to about 32,000 in 2009.  The herd was considered stable but still low in numbers between 2009 and 2012, at about 35,000 animals.

The June 2014 reconnaissance survey of the Bathurst calving ground suggests that the herd continues to decline.

The 2013 population survey of the Bluenose-East herd indicated it had declined to about 68,000 animals from the more than 100,000 animals estimated during the 2010 survey.

The June 2014 reconnaissance survey of the Bluenose-East calving ground suggests that the herd has continued to decline by about 30 percent.

The results were shared with Aboriginal leaders and representatives from wildlife management authorities.

“I am optimistic that after frank discussion, we can move forward and determine the short term management actions needed before the start of the 2014-2015 winter harvest,” said Miltenberger. “We will reconvene in late October to discuss and decide what further actions we’ll need to take to conserve these two herds.”

Population surveys for the Bathurst and Bluenose-East herds are planned for summer 2015.


For more information, contact:

Judy McLinton
Manager, Public Affairs and Communications
Environment and Natural Resources
Tel:  (867) 873-7379
Email:  judy_mclinton@gov.nt.ca