population monitoring

Content related to: population monitoring

Migratory Movements of Caribou in Northern Quebec and Labrador

This project aims at identifying the determinants of migratory routes and staging areas used by eastern migratory caribou. It will use GPS location data collected on >100 females since 2008 to determine the influence of topography, hydrography, vegetation, and snow cover on caribou migrations.

This project will allow to produce habitat suitability maps for each season and highlight potential corridors of migration. Conservation of mobile species such as migratory caribou is particularly challenging. The identification of migration routes, and understanding how habitat components affect migratory movements, are crucial to concentrate conservation efforts on key areas of the range.

Habitat Selection and Population Trends of the Torngat Mountains Caribou Herd

We fitted 9 Argos and 26 global positioning system (GPS)-collars on 35 adult caribou (25 female, 10 male) from the declining Torngat Mountains caribou herd in northern Quebec-Labrador between 2011 and 2016 to assess seasonal habitat selection at 2 spatial scales, current and future population trends, and interactions with the neighboring Riviere-George migratory caribou herd.

The decline of the Torngat Mountains population was principally attributed to the low survival of adult females (0.72 annual survival rate) owing to subsistence harvest and predation. Demographic models revealed that the growth rate of the population could vary from 0.83 (current) to 0.94 following a decrease in harvest pressure. Using demographic scenarios, we showed that the Torngat Mountains herd could continue to decrease if no management actions were taken to increase adult female survival.


Tǫdzı (Boreal Caribou) and the State of Their Habitat

Project Description:
This report considers Tłı̨chǫ knowledge of the relationships that tǫdzı (boreal caribou) have with their habitat, including human and other-than human beings.

The current research grew from elders’ discussions at Ɂedèezhìi field camp about the importance of tǫdzı habitat around the Whatì area as the frequency and extent of forest fires continued to grow. The elders strongly suggested we pay more attention to tǫdzı winter habitat around Whatì and how they use islands in this area.

Project Outcomes or Intended Outcomes:
Final Report: Tǫdzı (boreal caribou) and the State of Their Habitat.

Principal Researcher: Allice Legat

Community Researchers: Camilla Nitsiza and Charlie J Nitsiza

Report Authors (see resource): Allice Legat and Mary McCreadie


Gwich’in Traditional Knowledge: Woodland Caribou, Boreal Caribou

Project Description:

The Gwich’in Renewable Resources Board (GRRB) and the Gwich’in Social and Cultural Institute (GSCI) collaborated on a study to gather and report on Gwich’in Traditional Knowledge of Boreal Woodland Caribou.  There is a stable population of woodland caribou in the Gwich’in Settlement Area and surrounding regions.  However, the Canadian population is classified as threatened under the federal Species at Risk Act.  Environment Canada supported the project in order to integrate Traditional Knowledge in the recovery planning process for boreal woodland caribou.

The GSCI and the GRRB conducted 20 interviews with holders of Gwich’in traditional knowledge and searched the digital archives of GSCI for relevant primary and secondary data to obtain TK about general observations, special significance, physical description, distribution, habitat, population size and trend, limiting factors and threats, and health of the woodland caribou. Gwich’in hunters have in-depth knowledge about boreal woodland caribou which they generously shared in the interviews. 

Project Outcomes or Intended Outcomes:

The purpose of this study was to gather and collate Gwich’in traditional knowledge for use in the Federal Species at Risk Boreal Caribou recovery planning process.  It was also used for the NWT Species at Risk Boreal Caribou status report and assessment, and subsequent Recovery Strategy.

Conservation of Caribou and Caribou Habitat in Dene Ni Nenne (Cold Lake First Nations traditional territory)

Project Description:

Cold Lake First Nations (CLFN) is working with all levels of government across two provinces, industry, National Defence, and research groups to develop and implement caribou conservation measures. The specific focus of these efforts is the Cold Lake Air Weapons Range (CLAWR).  CLFN was evicted from the CLAWR in 1952 and regained access in 2001 after a long legal process. CLFN has been concerned for many years about how the CLAWR is managed and what the long term impacts to its homelands will be. This project focuses on aligning conservation measures with CLFN Indigenous Knowledge (IK) and implementing them in a complex regulatory environment. The centerpiece of this effort to date is a Section 11 Agreement with Canada that provides common ground for parties to collaborate.

Project Outcomes or Intended Outcomes:

  • Implementation of provincial (Species at Risk Act compliant) range plans and the associated actions inside a National Defence facility in collaboration with provinces.
  • Creation of a multi year restoration plan for the CLAWR
  • Conservation of critical caribou habitat
  • Alternate Prey Management 
  • Monitoring of ungulates 
  • Implementation of restoration activities that integrate IK
  • Development and application of Dene Law to CLFN's actions on the land
  • Moving towards reconciliation with Canada over the historical legacy of CLFN's eviction from the CLAWR and the subsequent decades of irreparable social harm.

Monitoring of Boreal and Mountain (Gaspésie) Caribou Populations in Québec / Suivi des Populations de Caribou Forestier et Montagnard (Gaspésie) au Québec

Project Description:

The programme de suivi des population de caribou au Québec vise le suivi de 12 indicateurs biologiques, regroupés sous 6 thématique / The monitoring program of caribou populations in Québec targets 12 biological indicators grouped into 6 themes:

  • Population status
    • Abundance (Population size and density) : aerial surveys
    • Population structure : classifications (determination of sex and age class of caribou observed during aerial surveys)
  • Demography - Survival
    • Survival rate : telemetry monitoring
    • Contribution of different mortality causes : visit of mortality sites
  • Demography – Recruitment and productivity
    • Recruitment : classifications (determination of sex and age class of caribou observed during aerial surveys)
    • Female productivity : feces collection
  • Population trend
    • Demographic trend
  • Health condition
    • Body condition: Measurements during capture
    • Parasites and diseases: Exams and collection of samples during capture
  • Space use
    • Definition of habitat selection, seasonal areas and critical habitats : telemetry monitoring

Project Outcomes or Intended Outcomes:

  • Mettre à jour l’abondance de caribou forestier dans les populations et à travers sa distribution provinciale / Update the abundance of boreal caribou within the populations and across the provincial range
  • Préciser la répartition du caribou forestier de part et d’autre de la limite nordique d’attribution des forêts / Clarify the distribution of boreal caribou on both site of the northern limit of commercial forest allocation
  • Déterminer la tendance démographique des populations/Determine the demographic trend of populations;
  • Évaluer la productivité des populations / Assess the productivity of populations
  • Évaluer l’état de santé des populations et l’influence de la condition corporelle sur les indicateurs démographiques / Assess the health status of populations and the influence of body condition on demographic indicators
  • Évaluer l’état de référence des maladies et parasites présents et évaluer la présence de certains parasites potentiellement délétères dans les populations / Assess the baseline conditions in diseases and parasites and and assess the presence of deleterious parasites in the populations
  • Évaluer la contribution des différentes causes de mortalités / Assess the contribution of different mortality causes
  • Définir les populations en termes d’unités territoriales de gestion / Define population as management units



DetourGold – Mammals Monitoring Program

Wood was awarded a contract in 2008 to undertake baseline wildlife assessments in the study area and develop and conduct a long-term mammals monitoring program (focused on caribou, moose and wolves). The monitoring program measures wildlife responses to mine redevelopment locally as well as more regionally within the Kesagami range and informs mitigation and compensation components of provincial Species at Risk approvals. Monitoring objectives are focused on identifying important seasonal habitat areas that have the potential to be directly or indirectly impacted by the mine or any future expansion. The focus of the monitoring program is on delineating more detailed baseline information on spatio-temporal parameters of woodland caribou including annual and seasonal range use, fidelity to core use and/or seasonal ranges that may directly inform impact assessments as well as compensation and mitigation strategies to be implemented. A road network habitat restoration project is in the initial consultation/planning phase. Caribou monitoring methods undertaken at the range scale include satellite telemetry (n=20 collars and mortality investigations), systematic aerial surveys of ungulate-wolf occurrence and caribou herd composition. The caribou surveys include group classification (age, sex) and calf recruitment to support population modelling of state and vital rates.


Population and Habitat Ecology of Boreal Caribou and their Predators in the Saskatchewan Boreal Shield

Research completed by the University of Saskatchewan in collaboration with a consortium of industry and government partners. Research included a multi-faceted program on the population dynamics and critical habitat of woodland (boreal) caribou in the SK1 administrative unit.

The program was designed to address information gaps about caribou habitat and population dynamics closely aligned with information required by Environment and Climate Change Canada as part of the 2012 federal Recovery Strategy.