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Woodland Caribou (Rangifer Tarandus Caribou)

Authorities Consulted

(In addition to those in Acknowledgements)

M. Crête, Ministère du Loisir, de la Chasse et de la Pêche, Service de la Faune terrestre, Governement du Quebec, Québec.

Cam Elliott, Wildlife Manager, Northeast Region, Manitoba Conservation, Thompson, Manitoba.

Janet Ficht, Natural Resources Service, Alberta Department of Natural Protection, Edson, Alberta.

Doug Heard, Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks, Prince George, B.C.

Michel Huot, Ministère de l'environment et de la faune, Governement du Québec, Quebec.

James Kushny, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario.

Ron Larche, Wildlife Branch, Government of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Tom Reimchen, Department of Biology, University of Victoria, Victoria, B.C.


Collections Examined

None

Table 1: Estimated Numbers in 2000-2002 of Forest-dwelling Caribou in COSEWIC Populations
COSEWIC populationStated number1Rounded numberStated confidence2Sources3
Northern Mountain41 550-46 55044 000ModerateR. Farnell, I. Hatter, & J. Quayle
Southern Mountain7 187-7 2277 200Moderate-highI. Hatter & D. Hervieux
Boreal31 122-34 80733 000Low-moderateBoreal sources below
Newfoundland (Isl.)100 000100 000Moderate-highDoucet p.c. 2000
Atlantic (Gaspésie)200200HighOuellet et al. 1996

1 Totals as provided by jurisdictional biologists generally are for adults and calves in winter. Those estimates typically have confidence limits of 20-50% and some are guesses. They are rounded in the text.
2 This is a general term as expressed by representatives and has no statistical quantification.
3 Personal communication and other sources: Rick Farnell, Yukon 2001; Ian Hatter and James Quayle B.C., 2000, Hatter 2000. Boreal sources: Anne Gunn, NWT 2001; David Hervieux & Tara Szkorupa, Alberta 2000 (compilers of 18 sources); Earl Wilste, Saskatchewan 2000 & Godwin and Thorpe 1999; David Duncan, Ken Rebizant, and Cam Elliott, Manitoba 2000; Ted Armstrong, Ontario 2000 & Harris 1998; Robert Otto, Newfoundland–Labrador 2000; Christine Doucet, Newfoundland (Island). More details are in Acknowledgements.

 

Table 2: Estimates of Forest-dwelling Woodland Caribou Numbers in Canada by COSEWIC Population
COSEWIC populationProv./terr.1978-198411986219923199642000-20025
Northern MountainYT/NWT15 550 Guess21 550-26 550
17: 2/4/1/10
26 742-35 482
20: 2/3/2/13
28 850-34 350
22: 4/7/2/9
32 150-37 150
22: 4/9/2/7
B.C.8 0003 285
6: 1/3/2/0
9 770-10 27010 300-11 000
16: 1/4/1/10
11 000
16: 1/7/1/7
N. MTN.Total23 55024 835-29 835
23: 3/7/3/10
36 512-45 75239 150-45 350
38: 5/11/3/19
41 550-46 550
36: 4/15/3/146
Southern MountainB.C.2 5653 285
6: 1/3/2/0
3 295-3 4056 259-6 709
22: 3/7/5/7
6 555
26: 0/11/10/5
Alta.500 (?)NA300-400600-750
3:stable- decl.
732-772
5: 0/2/2/17
Total3 0656: 1/3/2/03 595-3 8056 859-7 459
25: 3/8/7/7
Mean 7 208
30:0/13/12/57
BorealNWT3 000 (?)2 000-5 000 Unknown4 000-6 400
(1 undefined)
B.C.100 (?)NA 725
Unknown
725
(1 undefined)
Alta1 000-3 000NA
1: 0/0/1/0
2 700-3 1003 000-5 995
Stable/decl.
3 285
12: 0/1/5/6
Sask.2 5002 500
1: 0/0/1/0
2 5002 500 (1984)
5: declining
5 000
21: 0/0/5/16
Man.3 3605 000
1: 0/1/0/0
1 400-2 500
excl. Taiga
2 250
(2 000 – 2500)
2 000-3 000
14: 0/5/0/9
Ont.11 000
incl. Taiga
8 400 incl.taiga
4: 1/2/0/1
6 012-6 702
excl. Taiga
3 457 excl. Hudson Plain5 000
Gen. + 6 relic
Que.8 1008 197-9 337
4: 1/2/1/0
6 280-18 330<10 000 + 3  relic (40-200)<10 000
Gen. + 2 relic
Labr.
Newf.
2 017
3
1 780-1 920
3:1/1/1/0
2 650-3 100
2
 1 407
3: 1/0/2/0
Total31 077-
33 077
14:3/6/4/1 21 575-24 57031 000-35 000
52:1/6/12/338
Newfoundland (Isl.)Newf.21 95023 100-44 000
11: 11/0/0/0
61 400-64 640
13: 9/3/0/1
80 000100 000
27: 15/11/1/0
Atlantic
(Gaspésie)
Que.145250
1:0/0/1/0
200 (decl.)225150-200
stable/down

In each cell, numbers are in the top row and number of local populations and trend (increasing/stable/ decreasing/unknown), as reported by jurisdictions, are in the second row.

1 Bergerud 1978, 1980; Kelsall 1984. Kelsall provided estimates for boreal Quebec of 8100 (range 5276 to 8493). Includes Mealy Mountain, Red Wine Mountain, and White Bear populations in southern Taiga of Labrador.
2 Williams and Heard 1986. Data mainly from 1980-1984. Includes Mealy Mountain and Red Wine Mountain populations in southern Taiga of Labrador. Half of estimate for Lac Joseph population assigned to each of Quebec and Labrador.
3 Ferguson and Gauthier 1992. Data mostly from 1986-1990. Includes Mealy Mountain & Red Wine Mountain po. in southern Taiga of Labrador. Half of estimate for Lac Joseph population assigned to each of Quebec and Labrador.
4 Farnell et al. 1998, Heard and Vagt 1998, Edmonds 1998, Rettie et al. 1998, Larche 1996, Couturier 1996, Cumming 1998 (data mostly from 1994-96. Numbers reported for 12 districts in Ontario).
5 Reports from jurisdictions for this report (see Table 1).
6 Two in stable category were listed as stable-decreasing.
7 After subtracting numbers for local populations common to two jurisdictions.
8 Includes 21 pop. in SK (see Distribution) of which 5 were considered to be slowly decreasing (Rettie &  Messier 1998).

Note: Trend, as reported by jurisdictions. Standard criteria are needed.

 

Table 3: Frequency Distribution of Estimated Trend in Numbers of Local Populations within Northern Mountain, Southern Mountain, Boreal, and Newfoundland COSEWIC Populations of Caribou in 2000-2002
Trend in numbers1Northern MountainSouthern MountainBoreal except ON & QC2Newfoundland (Island)
Increase40115
Stable15133611
Decrease3121241
Unknown14533410

1 Trend as reported by jurisdictions. Data common to two jurisdictions subtracted. Standard criteria are needed.
2 No data for local populations in Ontario (ON) and Quebec (QC).  Saskatchewan reported the status of caribou in 3 ecoregions. Subsequently, 18 local populations were mapped (Godwin and Thorpe 1999) of which 5 were slowly decreasing (Rettie and Messier 1998) and 7 regional groups of caribou (metapopulations?) were mapped (Arsenault pers. comm. 2001). When maps are combined, there are 21 distributions.
3 Two populations in the stable category were listed as stable-decreasing.
4 Includes 21 pop. in SK (Table 2) of which 5 were considered to be slowly decreasing (Rettie &  Messier 1998).

 

Table 4: Frequency Distribution of Estimated Local Population Sizes within Northern Mountain, Southern Mountain, Boreal, and Newfoundland Populations of Caribou in 2000-2002
Number of caribouNorthern MountainSouthern MountainBoreal except ON & QC2Newfoundland (Island)
</=  500843
51 – 10004172
101 – 2509971
251 – 5007773
501 – 10009125
>1000111113

1 Subtracting one for common Belcourt/Narraway (n =100) and excluding Little Smoky (Boreal population).
2 No data for local populations in Ontario (ON) and Quebec (QC).

 

Table 5: Frequency Distribution of Local Population Range Sizes within Northern Mountain, Southern Mountain, Boreal, and Newfoundland Populations of Forest-dwelling Caribou in 2000-2002
Range area (km2)Northern MountainSouthern MountainBoreal except ON & QC1Newfoundland (Island)
< 1 00003114
1 001 – 2 0003713
2 001 – 5 00099285
5 001 – 10 0007733
10 000 – 20 00010491
>20 0003070

1 No data for local populations in Ontario (ON) and Quebec (QC).
2 Belcourt/Narraway one population of area 2045 km2.

Note: Some range sizes are not known and some totals are less than number of local populations.

 

Table 6: Mean Densities of Forest-dwelling Caribou in COSEWIC Populations
COSEWIC populationJurisdictionMean (no. of local populations)Range of densities
(per 100 km2)
Source
Northern MountainYT/NWT12.0 (18)3.0 – 26.9R. Farnell pers.comm. 2002
B.C.10.0 (16)3.0 – 24.2I. Hatter pers. comm. 2002
Southern MountainB.C.WC: 8.3 (5)1.9 - 21.1I. Hatter pers. comm. 2002
NC:  5.9 (8)1.6 – 14.1
S:  3.0 (13)0.3 - 15.1
All: 7.0 (26)0.3 – 21.1
ABLow estim: 9.4 (5)4.0 – 16.4D. Hervieux & T. Szkorupa pers. comm. 2000
High estim: 9.9 (5)6.7 – 16.4
BorealNWT0.9 – 1.5 (2)1 – 3A. Gunn pers. comm. 2001
B.C.1.4 (1) I. Hatter pers. comm. 2000
AB3.3 (12)1.8 – 13.1D. Hervieux p.c. 2000
SK1.8 (3 ecoregions)0.6, 0.7, & 3.5Gdwin & Thorpe 2000
MB1.1– 1.8 (13)0.5 – 4.3Rebizant et al. 2000
ONNot available  
QCNot available  
NF, LABR.1.3 (3)0.4 – 1.3R. Otto pers. comm. 2000
Atlantic (Gaspésie)QC20 – 25 (1) Ouellet et al. 1996
NF (Island)NF150 (26)11 – 634C. Doucet pers. comm. 2000

 

Table 7: Percent Frequency of Concerns Relative to Threats to Local Populations within Northern Mountain, Southern Mountain, Boreal, and Newfoundland Populations of Caribou in 2000 (n = 37, 30, 34, and 27 respectively)
Threat or concern1Northern MountainSouthern MountainBoreal excl. ON & QC2Newfoundland (Island)
Predation62947774
Access & disturbance43946582
Forestry & other dev.35906256
Population isolation37737411
Available habitat32745029
Fire57477441
Low numbers43703218
Hunting70305900

1 Concern rated as high or medium by jurisdiction biologists.
2 No data for local populations in Ontario (ON) and Quebec (QC).

 

Table 8: Percent of Local Populations for which Types of Data are Obtained Annually (ann.), Occasionally (occas.) or Rarely, and Never within Northern Mountain, Southern Mountain, and Boreal Populations of Caribou in 2000 (n = 37, 30, and 34, respectively)
Data typeNorthern MountainSouthern MountainBoreal population2
Ann.Occas.NeverAnn.Occas.NeverAnn.Occas.Never
Numbers007921237403095536
Recruitment384121355213182656
Ad. Sex ratio384121293932182359
Harvest94003(NA)190081092668
Mortality rate183646421939291556
Weather data054946232255180379
Diet004456003961000694
DNA004951006535002476
Body condition003862001981000991
Movements1382141424513401545

1 Movements monitored with radio collars.
2 No data for local populations in Ontario and Quebec.

 

Table 9: History of Sport Hunting of Forest-dwelling Woodland Caribou in Canada
COSEWIC PopulationJurisdictionReference
Northern MountainYukon: Some closed and some permit hunts
Farnell p.c. 2001
B.C.: Limited for some populationsHatter p.c. 2002
Southern MountainB.C.: A few adult bulls permitted from large populations. Southern metapopulation closed in 2001.Hatter (pers. comm. 2002)
Alberta: closed in 1981Edmonds 1988
BorealB.C.: No recreational hunt. 
NWT: Hunting by holders of General Hunting Licence 
Alberta: closed in 1981Edmonds 1988
Saskatchewan: closed 1947-61; 1987 – presentRock 1992
Manitoba: closed 1947-67; 1992 – presentJohnson 1993
Ontario: closed in 1942Darby et al. 1989
Quebec: Limited sport hunt in parts of rangeHunting regulations
Labrador: 
NewfoundlandHunting is main management tool to stabilize local populations. Non-residents can hunt with guide.Mahoney 2000
Atlantic
(Gaspésie)
Closed in 1937Boileau 1996
Closed in early 1940sCrête et al. 1994
Closed in 1949Ouellet et al. 1996


Table 10: Designations by COSEWIC, Jurisdictions, and the Subnational (S list) and Global (G list) Ratings within the New COSEWIC National Ecological Areas
COSEWIC NEA/Pop.COSEWIC 2002Provincial/territorial1Provincial colour listing2The Nature Conservancy3
S listG list
PacificExtinctExtinct SXG5TX
Northern MountainSpecial concernNoneB.C.: BlueB.C.: S3S4G5T4
Southern MountainThreatened B.C.: Southern metapop. Red1B.C.: S2B.C.: G5T2Q
Alberta: ThreatenedAB: Blue 19962AB: S2AB: G5T4
BorealThreatenedNT: SensitiveB.C.: BlueB.C.: S3B.C.: G5T?
  SK: S3 
  ON: S3S4?ON: G5(’96)
  LB: S2S3LB: G5T4
AB: threatened 1985AB: Blue 19962  
NewfoundlandNot at risk  NF: S5NF: G5
Atlantic
(Gaspésie)
EndangeredSusceptible QC:QC

1 Alberta Wildlife Act: Threatened - A species that is likely to become endangered if the factors causing its  vulnerability are not reversed.
2 Alberta Colour lists: Red: current knowledge suggests that these species are at risk. These species have declined, or are in immediate danger of declining to a nonviable population.  Blue: current knowledge suggests that these species may be at risk. These species have undergone non-cyclic declines in population or habitat, or reductions in provincial distribution.
3 Nature Conservancy, The 2001 (Canada): <http://www.natureconservancy.ca>:
The Nature Conservancy, USA (Association for Biodiversity Information): http://www.abi.org
Natural Heritage Network Directory (international): <http://www.abi.org/networkdirectory.htm>
Natural Heritage Network Directory (Canada): http://www.abi-canada.ca/english/map.htm
Natural Heritage Element Rarity Ranks (after The Nature Conservancy 2001)
G1/S1: Critically Imperiled: Critically imperiled globally because of extreme rarity or because of some factor(s) making it especially vulnerable to extinction. Typically 5 or fewer occurrences or very few remaining individuals (<1000) or acres (<2000) (<809 ha), or linear miles (<10) (<16 km).
G2/S2: Imperiled: Imperiled globally because of rarity or because of some factor(s) making it very vulnerable to extinction or elimination. Typically 6 - 20 occurrences or few-remaining individuals (1 000 - 3 000) or acres (2 000 - 10 000) (809 - 4047 ha), or linear miles (10 to 50) (16-80 km).
G3/S3 Vulnerable. Vulnerable globally either because very rare and local throughout its range, found only in restricted range (even if abundant at some locations), or because of other factors making it vulnerable to extinction or elimination. Typically 21 - 100 occurrences or 3 000 - 10 000 individuals.
G4/S4: Apparently Secure. Uncommon but not rare (although it may be rare in parts of its range, particularly on the periphery), and usually widespread. Apparently not vulnerable in most of its range, but possibly cause for long-term concern. Typically >100 occurrences & more than 10 000 individuals.
T = infraspecific taxon (subspecies or variety), X = extirpated, Q = questionable taxonomy.

 

Table 11: Designations for Five COSEWIC Populations and Component Designations Adopted by COSEWIC in 1984, Modified in 1995, and Changed in 2000
Population name1984 status1995 renaming2000 (May)2002 (May)
Pacific (Haida Gwaii)ExtinctExtinctExtinctExtinct
Northern Mountain1RareVulnerableNot at riskSpecial concern
Southern Mountain1RareVulnerableThreatenedThreatened
Boreal1Rare (Western)Vulnerable (Western)ThreatenedThreatened
NewfoundlandNot at riskNot at riskNot at riskNot at risk
Atlantic (Gaspésie)ThreatenedThreatenedEndangeredEndangered

1 The Northern and Southern Mountain populations were not recognized until May 2000.

Formerly they were part the western Boreal population in 1984 (Kelsall 1984).


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