Governments invest $7.6m toward protecting NWT caribou

Ottawa has announced $3.8m in barren-ground caribou conservation funding, matched by the same figure from the NWT government.

Barren-ground caribou are the most at-risk of five caribou subspecies in the Northwest Territories. Populations have been declining for years and 800,000 animals are thought to remain.

An example herd, the Bathurst, has dropped from an estimated 470,000 individuals in the 1980s to 128,000 in 2006 and just 6,240 last year.


Barren-ground caribou have been classed as threatened under territorial and federal standards since 2016. Those threat include a changing climate and industrial activity.

Funding announced on Friday will go toward a monitoring project to better understand the threats affecting NWT barren-ground herds.

“Better research and understanding of caribou populations, their movements, and the land
upon which they thrive is the key to the survival of this iconic species for many generations to
come,” said Michael McLeod, the territory’s MP, in a press release.

The federal money comes from its Enhanced Nature Legacy initiative, a biodiversity fund.

“Barren-ground caribou play a critical role in the social and cultural well-being of communities
across the Northwest Territories,” said Shane Thompson, the NWT’s environment minister.


“This investment will help us bring Indigenous knowledge and science together to inform the wise management of barren-ground caribou to ensure they remain for future generations.”