Common menu bar links

Conservation Strategy for Southern Mountain Caribou in Canada's National Parks

Species at Risk Woodland Caribou

Conservation Strategy for Southern Mountain Caribou in Canada's National parks

The Strategy

Parks Canada has released a Conservation Strategy for Southern Mountain Caribou in Canada’s National Parks (PDF, 2.7 MB) to guide caribou conservation actions in the mountain national parks of Banff, Jasper, Mount Revelstoke and Glacier. The strategy identifies key threats to the caribou populations and outlines actions to help mitigate these threats.

Hard copies of the Conservation Strategy for Southern Mountain Caribou in Canada’s National Parks are available by request.

Online Survey Results

Parks Canada values your input and suggestions to help us make the best possible management decisions in support of woodland caribou conservation. From November 25th, 2011 through January 31st, 2012, comments were collected from interested Canadians through an on-line survey. Thank you to everyone who took time to respond. Parks Canada received over 150 comments from across Canada.

Here are the results of that survey (PDF, 1.6 MB).

Parks Canada is currently engaged in discussions with Aboriginal communities in Alberta and British Columbia who have a defined historic connection to the mountain national parks. Feedback from these sessions will be used to help guide revisions to the Conservation Strategy.

Caribou Conservation Planning

Conservation Update

Here is the latest news on caribou research and conservation in the mountain national parks. 

Research update on woodland caribou - July 2014 (PDF 826 KB)
Research update on woodland caribou - December 2013
 (PDF 825 KB) 
Research update on woodland caribou - December 2012
 (PDF 1,9 MB)
Research update on woodland caribou - Spring 2012 (PDF, 1.4 MB)
Research update on woodland caribou - November 2011 (PDF, 1.5 MB)

Jasper National Park

Proposed caribou conservation actions in Jasper National Park.

New caribou conservation actions in effect as of November 1st. Delayed winter access is in effect for the ranges of the A La Peche (North Boundary), Brazeau (South Jasper) and Tonquin caribou herds in support of caribou conservation. These areas can still be enjoyed after February 28th (Feb. 16th in the Tonquin). Help us protect Jasper’s threatened caribou by choosing other areas of the park for winter recreation until these dates.
Important Bulletins
  • In support of caribou conservation, Parks Canada will delay winter recreational access to three backcountry areas of important caribou habitat in Jasper National Park (Tonquin, A La Peche and Brazeau caribou ranges) starting in November 2013. These actions will limit recreational use until after February 28th to only approximately 13 out of over 120 winter trails, ice climbing and mountaineering routes in the park. Parks Canada has also committed to implement new winter offers in two areas: Decoigne (Highway 16 West of Jasper) and Pyramid Lake. While some enhancements will be in place for winter 2013, the intent is to assess these areas in more detail for future development as key winter recreational nodes. Parks Canada’s decision supports both caribou conservation in these three areas and enhanced winter recreational opportunities within the park. Learn more (Date of posting: July 26, 2013)

  • In February 2013, Parks Canada met with regional winter recreational users of Jasper National Park. As part of these discussions, participants were presented with information on the proposed changes to winter access.
  • Caribou Conservation Action - Proposed changes to winter recreational access (Date of posting: March 22, 2013)

How to get involved

Provide input: Public information sessions and opportunities to participate in consultation on specific conservation actions will take place in each national park as they apply. Conservation actions will vary among the mountain national parks due to unique circumstances in each area.

Caribou Ambassador button

Become a volunteer “Caribou Ambassador”:
about caribou
SHARE the knowledge
BUILD awareness
PROTECT a Species at Risk

Participate as a:

  • Trail Ambassador or Trailhead host for the Maligne Lake and Cavell/Tonquin Areas
  • Community Outreach volunteer

To find out about upcoming information sessions, the caribou ambassador program or to receive caribou conservation updates from Parks Canada, please contact us by email, phone, fax or mail at the following address:

Parks Canada Caribou
Jasper National Park
P.O. Box 10
Jasper, AB
T0E 1E0

Phone: 780-852-6204
Fax: 780-852-4775

Woodland Caribou
Woodland Caribou
© Parks Canada / Mark Bradley


Distribution of woodland caribou Southern Mountain population

  • The southern mountain population of woodland caribou has declined across western Canada. Listed as a Threatened Species under Schedule 1 of the Species at Risk Act (SARA), southern mountain caribou range includes parts of Mount Revelstoke, Glacier, Jasper and Banff National Parks.

  • The Conservation Strategy for Southern Mountain Caribou in Canada’s National Parks is meant specifically to engage Canadians in caribou conservation by outlining Parks Canada’s conservation actions within the mountain national parks. It will also provide important information in the development of an Environment Canada-led recovery stategy for the entire population of southern mountain caribou as listed under Canada's Species at Risk Act.

Strategy Highlights

Strategy Highlights banner © Mark Bradley

Woodland caribou numbers are declining across Canada. Five Key threats to woodland caribou populations in the mountain parks have been identified and actions proposed to reduce these threats. Each action may or may not be applicable in all four of the mountain national parks (Banff, Jasper, Mount Revelstoke and Glacier).

1. Changes to predator-prey populations in and around caribou habitat

  • Keep primary prey for caribou predators low by preventing “elk refuges”
  • Monitor predator populations to anticipate their impact on caribou recovery
  • Maintain/monitor caribou population size and habitat

2. Facilitated access for predators to caribou

  • Provide visitors with opportunities for recreation in areas not important for caribou while restricting recreation in caribou habitat
  • Discontinue setting early season ski tracks that lead to caribou winter habitat

3. Direct disturbance

  • Reduce speed zones on roads through important habitat
  • Implement periodic seasonal trail and road closures
  • Relocate trails away from important caribou habitat
  • Educate park visitors to avoid disturbing caribou

4. Habitat loss

  • Use prescribed fire in areas away from caribou habitat to maintain a safe distance between caribou and their predators
  • Use prescribed burns to guard against large fires within caribou habitat
  • Development within important caribou habitat to be considered under exceptional circumstances only, and must not adversely affect caribou

5. The increased threats faced by populations that have already become dangerously small

  • Re-introduce or add caribou where herd sizes are critically low
  • Manage other threats to prevent caribou populations from becoming small

In order to maximize the functionality of this page, please enable JavaScript and download the latest version of the Adobe Flash Player.

Woodland caribou

Watch the video in MPG format

YouTube    Watch the video on YouTube        Video transcript

Web Links

If you want to learn more about caribou conservation in the mountain national parks, visit Parks Canada's Species at Risk page.

Woodland Caribou © Mark Bradley
Woodland Caribou
© Parks Canada / Mark Bradley

Note: To read the PDF version you need Adobe Acrobat Reader on your system.

If the Adobe download site is not accessible to you, you can download Acrobat Reader from an accessible page.

If you choose not to use Acrobat Reader you can have the PDF file converted to HTML or ASCII text by using one of the conversion services offered by Adobe.