Provincial Government Maintains Hunting Ban on George River Caribou Herd
March 23, 2016
The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador has completed a scheduled review of the hunting ban on the George River Caribou Herd and announced today the ban will continue. The review included biological and population monitoring investigations as well as consultations with Aboriginal governments and organizations. Findings of the most recent classification surveys conducted in October 2015 and February 2016 show continued population decline.
“While in October the number of calves in the population showed improvement for the second consecutive year, a classification survey conducted just weeks ago revealed that the number of calves has again dropped to alarming levels. This, combined with high adult mortality, is contributing to a further decline in the population. We cannot allow hunting during this devastating decline.”
– The Honourable Perry Trimper, Minister of Environment and Conservation
The results of the fall 2015 work showed calves represented 20 per cent of the herd. Just months later in February 2016, a classification survey documented a marked decline of calves to just 14 per cent. Overall adult mortality remains high at 30 per cent.
The decrease is thought to be linked with predation, climate change, disturbances in caribou environment and illegal hunting. In recent years, there have been a number of charges laid related to illegal hunting. When female caribou are killed, their calves often do not survive.
Hunting of the George River Caribou Herd throughout Labrador will remain closed until March 31, 2017, with the closure beyond this period pending a further review of the herd status and health. The Provincial Government also looks forward to receiving and considering information on herd management from the Ungava Peninsula Caribou Aboriginal Round Table (UPCART).
The five-year hunting ban was enacted in 2013.
- The Provincial Government is maintaining a hunting ban on the George River Caribou Herd.
- A February 2016 classification of the herd showed the percentage of calves decreased from 20 per cent in fall 2015 to 14 per cent.
- Overall adult mortality remains high at 30 per cent
- Hunting of the George River Caribou Herd throughout Labrador will remain closed until March 31, 2017, with the closure beyond this period pending a further review of the herd status and health.
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Director of Communications
Department of Environment and Conservation