Takla Lake First Nation (TLFN) is working together with the provincial government and Wildlife Infometrics associates on a project to identify travel corridors between the Takla and Wolverine caribou ranges. Once travel corridors are identified with input from TLFN community members, they will be recommended for protection as Wildlife Habitat Areas, and a strategy will be developed for restoring travel corridors with excessive habitat disturbance.
Both caribou ranges are facing 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 late winter 2016/17. So far, 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 characterized two specific corridors as having high likelihood for being important linkages between the two herd areas. These two corridors were 37% and 44% disturbed, based on a 500 m buffer around areas altered by forest harvesting and roads.
We have also begun assembling a framework for priority habitat restoration by: 1) listing the types of restoration projects that could be considered, and 2) listing elements of the restoration framework that should be developed prior to implementing restoration activities. During Year 3, cameras will continue to monitor suspected travel corridors during spring migration in 2017, and information from cameras, sightings, and radio-collared caribou will be used to help further refine travel corridors, and the restoration framework will be developed. Funding for Year 2 of this project was provided by Environment and Climate Change Canada (Habitat Stewardship Program), Spectra Energy, and Takla Lake First Nation.
Year 1 Project Funding Provided By: