Across North America, caribou face a crisis. National Geographic describes herds declining from Arctic Alaska, the Northwest Territories, the Quebec forests and the mountains of British Columbia.
Now the West Moberly and Saulteau First Nations in British Columbia are doing something about it — one calf at a time.
They have created a sanctuary for mountain caribou from the endangered Klinse-Za herd, which has grown to roughly triple its size, outside Fort St. John, British Columbia, Canada
“The last two years, the calves that we released into the wild they weren’t just eaten by wolves and bears,” caribou guardian Starr Gauthier told Reuters.
“They’ve actually survived and they are still here. And some of them are actually in here right now reproducing, which is amazing,” she said.
It has also been a journey for Gauthier herself.
“I used to work in oil and gas, you know a lot of that stuff where we were really extracting resources, so to be part of something that is really opposite that, now I can go to bed at night and be like yes, I am contributing to this,” she said.
National Geographic reported that when the project began in 2013, only 38 Klinse-Za caribou remained; now, that herd has tripled to 114 animals — a feat that hasn’t been achieved anywhere else.