Barren ground Caribou

Hail brilliant mankind

Cast your eyes upon the wilds of the great land. The wilderness stretches out before you and you are saved. The new land, freshly washed of glacier ice and snow reveals the tundra and the life within. Brave hunters, your lives await you there. Up, way up, above the treeline into the Arctic.
Cast your eyes upon the land and view the newness of the Earth. Your lives await you here, almighty human, the brave explorer, the clever hunter. The wild beasts roam and in your view is the vast herd you’ve been searching for.
Caribou!
Here in the far north is a large migrating herd of caribou. The home of the barren ground caribou as they move across the northern plains of the North West Territories. A way of life for nomadic peoples as they follow the herds for food and clothing. A lifeline, a support, a tradition. Beware, almighty human, the world changes.

Click to access 2011-2015_Barren-ground_Caribou_Management_Strategy.pdf

The barren ground caribou is in decline. It’s once magnificent numbers in the hundreds of thousands of animals is now declining and the great herds are vanishing. A way of life vanishes with them. Gone is the migrating hunter, who’s dependency upon the caribou sustained them in food and clothing. Gone is the sport hunter and with the loss of the wild herds eco- tourism vanishes as well.
Hail bravehearts to the call of the wild.
The exploitation of the far north is a blight upon us. Overharvesting of a national treasure affects our cultural identity. As an environmentalist and a conservationist, the predation of the wild is a long standing concern. Hardship for the people, hardship for the wildlife and loss of culture, a food source, a tourist delight and a way of life.
The sustainability of the land appears consistent. The food source for the animals themselves seems stable. Overhunting is identified as a factor in the rapid decline and the dwindling numbers of caribou are a threat to the sustainability of the wild.
Eager hunters, your bellies are full and hunting of the magnificent wild is no more.
The lands set aside for wildlife habitat is immense in Canada, but still, the plunder increases. The far north, the tundra, uncultivated, unproductive land, whose resource value is low, but for the wildlife that resides there, it sustains them. Specially adapted animals, whose lives have supported the indigenous peoples of northern Canada for centuries. To loose the herds of the wild is to loose our national, cultural identity. The migration of the early peoples, the fur trade, the choice to inhabit the north. The integrity of the wild is essential to us.
Hail mankind. The world is yours, to protect or discard, choose wisely.
written by Dr. Louise Hayes
November 20,2013

Caribou

Caribou

Good morning Brave hearts

This beautiful new day of discovery is yours.
The open land lays before us and the movement of wildlife stirs in the distance. We take our cameras and creep forward. What is this sight?
Out here in the protected alpine, where few deer and elk will roam, is another animal. Caribou! Taking a stand for wildlife protection gifts us with the sighting of these rare mountain animals. The remnants of a last herd of animals which used to sustain their populations in the remote areas of Jasper National Park.
Here in the mountains is a unique species of woodland caribou that survive only in the highest alpine areas. Lofty alpine meadows, bursting with colourful flowers, high, snow covered peaks, chilly mountain streams and lakes. An area less frequently visited by humans, but home still to the variety of wildlife that entices us here. A chance for a view of the animals remote and rare, brings us out of our world and into the great open spaces of the great wild.
The great wild!
The adventure begins early, the hike is long. Hours of walking along well travelled routes for the opportunity to explore the magnificent wild. The alpine meadows burst with flower, the colours of the earth and the magnificent scenery make us smile. A sighting would be nice.
The elusive woodland caribou who’s numbers are drastically falling in this area, is our photographic joy.

http://www.pc.gc.ca/eng/pn-np/ab/jasper/plan/maligne/ie-ei.aspx

The alpine, in it’s own right, is a place of awesome splendor. The majestic mountain peaks, the array of colour and variety of terrain.
Our constant chatter alerts the ever present bears, who watch from their own safety as passersby invade their home. This is where the grizzly bear lives and hunts and the ever present predator reminds us, never hike alone. The trail is busy, so the chance of a sighting declines as numbers of people improve the chance that the bears will wander off to more peaceful areas. We stay on the trails. No chance encounters, no surprises, no sign of bears today.
No sign of caribou either. The elusive animal is farther back, farther from the trail, farther from human encounters.
This land, as large as it seems to be, is helping to protect some of our nations declining wildlife species. Exactly why the woodland caribou is in decline is not precisely known. The decline seems rapid and with herds as small as these, their own recovery is in peril.
Save us mankind! Calls the great wild and caribou recovery projects persist. The tracts of land set aside for wildlife conservation are being invaded, almighty human and the disturbance upsets shy, sensitive species. In reality, they are all sensitive species, needing care and protection.
The great wild and it’s wild inhabitants are a gift. Come almighty human, to save our national treasures. This UNESCO heritage site is one of those gifts.

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written by Dr. Louise Hayes
November 17,2013