aerial classification

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Monitoring of the Torngat Mountains Caribou Herd

Project Description:

Inuit of Nunavik and Nunatsiavut have long known that a small caribou population was living year-round in the Torngat Mountains. Recognizing its unique status, the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) has recently identified Torngat caribou as one of eleven units for caribou conservation across Canada. In 2016, COSEWIC assessed the status of the Torngat caribou as endangered, based largely on the inherent risk associated with its small population size.

An informal Torngat Caribou Technical Committee was established in 2013 to address research needs. The Torngat Committee is a coalition of interested parties and it includes representatives from the Government of Quebec, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Nunatsiavut Government, Makivik Corporation, Kativik Regional Government (Nunavik Parks), Parks Canada, and the Torngat Wildlife, Plants and Fisheries Secretariat (on behalf of the Torngat Wildlife and Plants Co-Management Board). Following discussion among the Torngat Committee, the first aerial population survey of the Torngat Mountains caribou herd was carried out in March 2014 (Couturier et al. 2015), and estimated the herd size at 930 caribou. To continue the scientific monitoring of the herd, all members of the Torngat Committee dedicated funds and/or in-kind contributions to support a second systematic population survey of the Torngat caribou herd. This was carried out in March and April 2017 following a similar distance sampling technique as was employed in 2014 (Couturier et al. 2018).

Project Outcomes or Intended Outcomes:

Main project outcomes include caribou abundance, demography, and trends on a three-year cycle.