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


Captive breeding: A captive breeding (or conservation breeding) program involves the capturing of a limited number of source animals from the wild. These animals are then bred in captivity and their offspring released into the wild. The goal is to build a captive population that could be used in the conservation of a species at risk. For caribou conservation in the mountain national parks, the program would be used to supplement several small herds in Jasper National Park and BC, and potentially to reintroduce caribou to Banff National Park.

Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) is a committee of experts that determines the national status of wild Canadian species that are suspected of being at risk of extinction or extirpation.

Conservation breeding: See captive breeding

Critical habitat: Defined under SARA as the habitat that is necessary for the survival or recovery of a listed wildlife species and that is identified as the species critical habitat in the recovery strategy or in an action plan for the species

Endangered: A species facing imminent extirpation or extinction

Extinct: A species that no longer exists

Extirpated: A species that no longer exists in an area it previously occupied, but occurs elsewhere

Important habitat: Identified by Parks Canada for the purposes of the conservation strategy as habitat occupied by caribou over the last 20 years, habitat where caribou were observed prior to that, habitat necessary for caribou to move between ranges, and habitat areas for caribou based on forest composition and age.

Maternity penning: Pregnant females are captured in their last trimester of pregnancy and held in a predator-free pen until all calves are at least 3 weeks old. Both females and calves are then released. The goal of maternity penning is to increase the survival rate of calves. In some cases, predator populations in the immediate vicinity of the maternity pens are controlled to further increase survival.

Parks Canada Ecological Integrity Monitoring Program measures changes in the characteristics of the natural regions in each of the national parks including abiotic components, the composition and abundance of native species and biological communities, and supporting processes.

Prescribed burns: A prescribed burn is an intentional fire planned and managed by fire specialists. A “prescription” describes the conditions and procedures necessary to burn safely and effectively.

Species at Risk Act (SARA): A federal law with three main goals: to prevent endangered or threatened species from becoming extinct or extirpated; to help in the recovery of endangered, threatened and extirpated species; and to manage species of special concern to help prevent them from becoming endangered or threatened.

Threatened: A species that is likely to become endangered if nothing is done to reverse the factors leading to its extirpation or extinction

Translocation is the moving of animals from one area to another. For the caribou conservation strategy, this would be the relocation of caribou from a large stable source herd or a captive breeding facility to an area where the caribou population is either very small or has been extirpated.

Ungulates: referring to mammals that have hooves. In terms of caribou conservation in the mountain national parks, it refers more specifically to elk, deer and moose.