The coyotes continue to decimate the caribou in the Gaspé peninsula

News 12 February, 2018
  • Photo courtesy Denis Desjardins, SEPAQ
    There are approximately 75 species of woodland caribou in the Gaspé peninsula, including the specimen captured in the image in the parc de la Gaspésie.

    Stephanie Gendron

    Monday, 12 February 2018 16:40

    Monday, 12 February 2018 16:42

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    SAINTE-ANNE-DES-MONTS | In 10 years, the population of woodland caribou in the Gaspé peninsula has been reduced by more than half, bringing his total to 75 in 2017, despite the fact that the ministry has trapped at least 80 coyotes and 40 bears during the same year.

    There were more than 200 caribou in 1984 when the ministry of Forest, Wildlife and Parks has started to do the aerial survey in the Gaspé. This number rose to 189 in 2007 and then to 75 last year.

    “The immediate cause of mortality is predation, especially the coyote that attacks the young caribou, which puts a brake on the recovery”, confirms Mathieu Morin, a biologist at the ministry.

    Photo courtesy Marc Italy, SEPAQ

    A woodland caribou photographed on mount Albert in the Gaspé peninsula.

    The logging of the last few decades around the national park that inhabits the caribou have been good for the coyotes since a young forest is ideal for them to feed and move.

    The department should therefore increase its efforts to control the predators. Hunting of coyotes is permitted, but is not very popular. A tour with the local federation of hunters will be launched to give the taste to hunt the animal.

    “The idea is to collect more, but it involves a lot of effort, a lot of resources and large territories to cover. It is another challenge,” said the biologist.

    The species is threatened within the meaning of the provincial act and endangered species within the meaning of the federal act. If nobody was doing anything and that we would maintain the status quo, it is around the extinction within 25 years.

    Its habitat

    The work must be done in the development and restoration of caribou habitat. “We think of forests coniferous and mature in which the caribou is maintained more precisely because the predators are less present,” says Mathieu Morin.

    Different actions will be taken including the maintaining of massive the closer to the park of Gaspésie and some silvicultural work can be done to help optimize the growth natural forest which is around it. The third recovery plan for the woodland caribou of the Gaspé peninsula will be offered this spring.

    According to the director of the Society for parks and wilderness (CPAWS) Alain Branchaud, it is necessary to agree on protective measures quickly. “There is an emergency at the level of the action, and governments must sit together and bring stakeholders together to develop long-term solutions that go beyond the boundaries of the national park of the Gaspé peninsula to ensure the survival of this species. If we do not do something in the short term, it is a pity, we will reach a point of no return”, says Alain Branchaud.