The public consultation aims to find out the public’s opinion on the measures that should be taken to ensure the survival of the species.

While the issue of caribou decline north of La Sarre is being assessed, the captivity project for the Val-d’Or herd, placed in an enclosure two years ago, continues.

The Val-d’Or woodland caribou herd is made up of 3 females and 4 males. Since their capture in March 2020, one caribou has died and another has been born.

It is a population that is still quite young. Our oldest individual is a male of about six and a half years old who is estimatedunderlines Stéphanie Pellerin, biologist at the Ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parks.

Three caribou wear rangefinder collars.

A camera makes it possible to observe the caribou in each of the feeders and the telemetric collar to locate them.

Photo: Courtesy

They were transferred to a new enclosure three times larger than the previous one in January 2022.

The enclosure is divided into 2 to rotate once a year and each enclosure is also divided into several other sections.

The hay will be able to grow, there is also natural lichen on the ground. The lichen will be able to regenerate once we transfer the enclosure caribou. It also limits the spread of pathogensexplains the biologist.

Caribou breeding

Isolation and whelping pens are set up. During the breeding period if we see that there are problems, interactions with certain males, we will be able to isolate some in these isolation enclosures thereshe says.

A woodland caribou has an ear tag with the number 41. It also has a rangefinder collar around its neck.

Although given nicknames by employees, caribou are identified by numbers.

Photo: Courtesy: Quebec Ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parks

The dominant male nicknamed Rudolph is particularly watched during the breeding period in October and November. Mating takes place in October, November and the fawns are born at the end of May, beginning of June.

With three females, we have good hopes of having a few newborns this summer. »

A quote from Stephanie Pellerin.

Pregnancy tests will be done soon. Caribou number 8 is the only calf born last summer.

Contacts with humans

The biologist at the Ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parks ensures that contact with humans is limited to avoid impregnation.

Adult caribou wear telemetry collars weighing 700 grams and the fawn’s one weighs 68 grams. For the fawn, we have a smaller collar that automatically enlarges to limit interactions and neck tighteningshe says.

These collars allow them to be located in the enclosure and send an alert during a 12-hour stoppage of movement.

These are the Standards of good care for wild animals, underlines Stéphanie Pellerin. They have studied the collars and ask us to have a maximum of 5% of the weight of the animal. In our case we are not even at around 1%, it depends on the individual.

She recalls that the objective is to eventually release them into the wild.

There is a biologist or a wildlife technician who goes once or twice a week to make observations and check that everything is under control, says Stéphanie Pellerin. That the animals are doing well. There is also a supervisor on site 24 hours a day. He makes a minimum of four hours of observations a day to note any problems that may arise, to ensure that all individuals are eating well and in sufficient quantities as well.

Observation by the public is not permitted, but some nearby vacationers and members of the Lac-Simon community sometimes go near the enclosure to inquire about the state of the caribou.

We rent a trailer to our collaborator from the Aboriginal community of Lac-Simon, says the biologist. They also deliver lichen to us from time to time as food for the caribou, as well as firewood for our trailer.

Upcoming Commission dates

The Independent Commission will be in La Sarre on April 27 at the Motel Villa mon Repos, the next day at the Hôtel Forestel in Val-d’Or and on May 5 at the Club de Golf Chibougamau-Chapais in Chibougamau.

Consultations are scheduled between 7 and 10 p.m.



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