Takla Lake First Nation (TLFN) is working on a project to identify travel corridors between the Takla and Wolverine caribou ranges. Both caribou ranges are facing increasing risks due to current and imminent future development from industrial activities, increasing the risk of the herds becoming isolated from each other.
This 3-year project started in 2015 with gathering of Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge and other historic information, including information from previously radio-collared caribou. As part of the project, remote cameras were installed in the fall of 2015 in areas that were suspected to be travel corridors, and searches for caribou tracks were conducted along roads. During the second year of the project, cameras that were installed in fall of 2015 were monitored until late summer 2016, and then cameras were again installed in late fall 2016 and monitored until summer 2017.
No caribou have been positively identified in photographs taken at camera sites. The majority of animals photographed have been moose, but other animals photographed include wolves, bears, coyotes, lynx, red fox, snowshoe hare, squirrels and grouse. In addition to remote cameras, TLFN community members reported several sightings of caribou during May 2016.
Information from sightings, and historic and recent radio-collared caribou locations were used to identify and refine proposed travel corridors. We assessed three specific corridors as having high likelihood for being important linkages between the two herd areas. The three corridors were 37%, 40% and 44% disturbed based on a 500 m buffer on habitat areas altered by forest harvesting and roads. We also 1) developed a framework for priority habitat restoration, which includes six components: calculating the amount of restoration required, classifying the status of each disturbance to assess potential for restoration, determining treatment priorities, determining the types of treatments to use, developing an implementation plan, and assessing potential for future disturbances, and 2) provided recommendations for reviewing and updating the status and management of the movement corridors.
Funding for this 3-year project was provided by Environment and Climate Change Canada (Habitat Stewardship Program), Takla First Nation, and Spectra Energy.