During the February Board meeting earlier this year, the Board considered the GNWT and TG’s proposal, Joint Proposal on Management Actions for Wolves (dìga) on the Bathurst and Bluenose-East Barren-ground Caribou (ekwǫ) Herd Winter Ranges 2020-2025. The Board assessed this proposal as a level two because of significant concerns about the lack of detail and technical content in the proposal, which would have prevented the project from kicking off this year as TG and ENR had hoped. This decision was amended slightly in March to allow the first year to be run as a pilot project, with the remainder of the project, and lessons learned to be resubmitted to the Board in the Fall.
At August’s Board meeting the revised Joint Proposal on Management Actions for Wolves (dìga) on the Bathurst and Bluenose-East Barren-ground Caribou (ekwǫ) Herd Winter Ranges 2021-2024 was reviewed including the additional information provided on the number of wolves harvested. In the 2019/2020 season, 18 Bathurst dìga, and 29 Bluenose-east dìga were harvested. Of those, 18 were by NWT harvesters, seven by Nunavut harvesters in the NWT, and 19 by Nunavut harvesters in Nunavut. This did not meet the targets expected by the harvesting portion of the program, so aerial surveys and shooting were conducted in March and April. 36 were shot from a helicopter, and five more died as a result of the collaring program.
The numbers reflected are lower than what was hoped for but may be due to the many days that they were not able to fly due to poor weather, and the challenges presented around COVID-19 restrictions.
The WRRB staff have requested and received the pathologist’s report, which includes an assessment of humaneness for how the dìga killed through the incentive program died. Following the closing of the public comment period, and the record on October 23, 2020, the Board will review any information provided, and decide whether or not to support the revised joint proposal as presented. A final ‘reasons for decision’ report will be available by January 8, 2020. All documents referenced in the article can be found on the WRRB’s public registry.