Our Rocky Mountains used to be full of herds of caribou, also known as reindeer, but in recent years, herds have been very rare to see.

Parks-Canada-breeding-program-save-Jasper-National-Park-caribou

Parks Canada plans to round up female caribou from nearly vanished herds and pen them in a captive breeding program to replenish others. 

It proposes taking females from small herds in Jasper National Park and keep them penned up in a facility near the town of Jasper. 

Those animals would be augmented by caribou from other herds until there are about 40 females and five males in a highly managed and monitored area of about one square kilometer, surrounded by an electrified fence.

The proposal suggests those breeding females could produce up to 20 animals a year. At that rate, it would take at least a decade to bring Jasper’s herds back to self-sustaining levels.

The facility could also be used to restore herds in Banff National Park.

Some experts say that this might be a risky program since babies raised in captivity might not necessarily have the skills to survive in the wild.

If we make a mistake, we may only have the one chance. They are down to such low numbers.

– Dave Argument, conservation manager

However, with the numbers being so low, this is a desperate time and it calls for desperate measures. This program might be the only chance to keep the caribou species alive.

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