RCFC and RCRW
Revelstoke Caribou Rearing in the Wild (RCRW) is a group of local individuals and organizations whose goal is to fundraise, plan and conduct captive rearing for mountain caribou in the North Columbia area. The plan is to improve the survivorship of mountain caribou calves and females by providing protection after birth by holding them in a predator proof enclosure for at least two weeks, the period that calves are extremely vulnerable to predation. The Revelstoke Community Forest Corporation (RCFC) is one of the founding members of this group.
For years Mountain Caribou have been a management concern of RCFC’s and a host of land use decisions and forestry practices have been implemented to minimize the impacts to the caribou. Unfortunately, Mountain Caribou numbers are still declining.
From the biology work that has been completed, we understand that past forestry practices among many other causes have led to the decline of this incredible species. There are still holes in the information that we don’t know for sure. Pregnancy rates are high but there are few calves….what is occurring? Maternity pens can answer some of these questions as well as potentially help increase population numbers at the same time.
Foresters in BC are given the right to practice by the provincial government. Given that, we must manage the land-base and the overall ecosystem. Our actions as natural resource managers can greatly affect the outcome for mountain caribou populations. We must do our part to reduce the risks to mountain caribou while maintaining a healthy forest economy that is sustainable. This project is where the rubber hits the road and we begin an active role in the recovery of Mountain Caribou.
Never have I been involved with a project that has so many different user groups all focused on the same final goal. It is inspiring to have environmental, industry, recreation, local special interest groups, government, First Nations, biologists and academia all at the same table. These relationships are fostering future endeavors and are encouraging a more collaborative approach to natural resource management in our area. However, for now we are all focused on one common goal…Mountain Caribou recovery!
RCRW is in the process of fundraising, applying to number of different funding sources. We currently have $128,000 approved in funding and have a number of applications we are still waiting for confirmation. One funding source is Shell Canada, Fueling Change which is an online voting system that empowers Canadians to support projects that matter most. Visit http://www.fuellingchange.com to vote.
The maternity pen site is located north of Revelstoke in the natural calving grounds of the North Columbia Mountain Caribou herd. This location will enable us to open the pen to release the animals in their native territory. The pen site has flat topography with good site lines to ensure the animals are safe and can be viewed by the shepherds hired to protect the caribou. We have brushed the site and pruned trees to help with site lines and reduce tree well depth.
There are still many things to do but the project has gained enormous support in the area and continues to gain momentum. The RCRW board is now preparing for the implementation of the project with plans for calving in the spring of 2014. To follow this project or learn more visit; www.rcrw.ca