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GNWT looking for input on caribou management plan

The territorial government is looking for public feedback on its management plan for the Bathurst caribou herd.

The draft plan comes as the Bathurst caribou has seen its population spiral in recent years.

Back in March, Shane Thompson, Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, said illegal caribou harvesting was five times higher than the same time last year. In February, Thompson had announced more ENR enforcement officers would be in place to combat illegal harvesting.

Since 1986, the Bathurst caribou herd has declined by nearly 98 per cent.

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In 2012, the GNWT introduced the Core Bathurst Caribou Mobile Zone, where hunting would be banned. Weekly updates are provided to the zone, with any hunting inside the zone banned.

“Caribou have sustained generations in our territory — and our government has a responsibility to do everything we can to help ensure they’ll sustain many more,” Thompson said in a statement. 

“With the Bathurst herd in real trouble, we’re pleased to be moving forward with urgency to chart a strong path to recovery and resilience. With collaboration across the North, and valued perspectives from the public, I am confident we will get this plan right.”

Local government officials will pick harvesters and traditional knowledge-holders to participate in thirteen virtual feedback sessions.

Comments can also be submitted online. The comment period is open through May 31.

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