June 4, 2023

Caribou Dwindling in Newfoundland

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Caribou populations in Newfoundland are dropping like a rock and scientists don’t know why. Despite that, hunters say they know exactly what is causing it – coyotes. Hunters say that coyotes are killing just about every calf born in the spring and are killing adult caribou during the long winter months.

Two coyotes were killed recently, both weighing in excess of 50 pounds, which should give some indication as to how healthy the predators are.

The government wants to spend millions of dollars studying the issue over several years before making changes in management plans. Others feel that if nothing is done, the caribou will be all but wiped out in five.

Goverment scientists have radio-collared calves and have determined the mortality rate at nearly 100%. They think predation from bears, coyote and lynx play a role but are wondering if too many caribou have overgrazed the habitat. The Canadian Sierra Club says it is because of too much logging.

It is believed that coyote came onto the island of Newfoundland on the ice from Nova Scotia around 1985. Witnesses reported seeing 3 animals cross and within a short period of time, the first coyote was trapped.

Caribou and hunting are essential to the economic well being of Newfoundland. Many there are not happy with how the government has managed the wildlife and are demanding changes.

Tom Remington