Population monitoring of the Leaf River migratory caribou herd
Québec City, February 21, 2018 – The Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs (MFFP) has released updated population data for the Leaf River migratory caribou herd. Although the data indicate a slight increase in numbers in the fall of 2017, the population is still declining.
This year, the high survival rate of adult females and the high proportion of calves in the population indicate an increase of 16%, placing the population at about 209,000 caribou. This data represents a positive result in a globally declining trend. Indeed, some indicators point to the precarious nature of the increase, given the low proportion of males in the herd’s composition. The recovery of the segment of large males remains uncertain. Moreover, the high proportion of calves in the 2017 population does not guarantee their survival until adulthood.
Demographic indicators vary greatly from one year to the next. Therefore, the demographic situation of the Leaf River Herd remains a matter of serious concern. Note that the population of this herd experienced a serious decline of close to 70%, dropping from more than 600,000 caribou at the onset of the 2000s to 181,000 caribou in November 2016.
This situation does not compromise the decision to close sport hunting effective February 1, 2018. In addition, caribou harvesting by Aboriginal beneficiaries of northern agreements must be monitored.
Progress is being made on the development of Leaf River Herd management plan in collaboration with the Hunting, Fishing and Trapping Coordinating Committee. The process also includes consultations with key wildlife management partners. Furthermore, the Government of Québec continues to monitor migratory caribou herds and intends to pursue working with the Caribou Ungava research program.
For information on the Ministry and to learn more about its activities and achievements, browse mffp.gouv.qc.ca and social media: