MANITOBA’S imperilled woodland caribou is one of several species that will benefit from a recently announced provincial fund to study and promote wildlife conservation in the province.
The Conservation and Endangered Species Fund provides more than $155,000 in total grants to non-profit community-based organizations for projects that will enhance the natural resources of the province, Conservation Minister Stan Struthers says.
Two such projects involve three-year studies on the endangered woodland caribou herds in the Swan-Pelican watershed area on the northwest side of Lake Winnipegosis, and between McNeil Lake and the Hargrave River in the Snow Lake area.
The current Manitoba population of boreal woodland caribou is estimated at between 1,821 and 3,135. They live on 10 identified ranges in the boreal lowlands, boreal shield ecological zones and other habitats.
“These ranges are subject to varying degrees of impact by human activities,” said provincial wildlife biologist Dr. Vince Crichton. He said one herd roams the Pine Falls area, just “100 miles northeast of the heart of the Red River Valley.”
“If we want to put management plans in place, one of the first things we need to know is how many animals there are,” explained Crichton, a member of the national boreal woodlands caribou recovery team.
He said researchers are capturing and radio-collaring caribou to track their movements better.