Sustainable wildlife management is a top priority for HeliCat Canada. The organization has been working with stakeholders and the British Columbia government for more than a decade to establish wildlife best practices and procedures for wilderness skiing operators in the province.
Those conversations resulted in a significant success story in early February as the BC government announced a significant investment into the comprehensive mountain caribou recovery plan — $27 million over three years.
“We are celebrating this new announcement as it’s an important step in the province’s recovery strategy for mountain caribou,” says Ian Tomm, Executive Director with HeliCat Canada.
“We work closely with the Ministries of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and Environment to ensure all operators in our organization are aware of mapped caribou habitat in their areas,” explains Tomm. “If caribou are spotted on a run, the operation closes that run and the area around it for at least 48 hours. Only after confirming the animals have moved out of the area will operations return to the region.”
According to the province, there are approximately 19,000 caribou in BC today, compared to between 30,000 and 40,000 at the turn of the last century.
The new funding will support five key components:
Critical caribou habitat protection and restoration
Research and monitoring
Increased compliance and enforcement
“We’ve already invested millions of dollars and set aside critical habitat, but stronger action is required to reverse population declines, and ensure that our children and grandchildren have the opportunity to experience these animals in the wild,” said Premier Christy Clark during the funding announcement.
HeliCat Canada will continue to work with the government and other sectors to support mountain caribou recovery in BC.