The B.C. government wants to relocate caribou from northern B.C. to bolster a dwindling herd in the Kootenays that's in danger of being wiped out.

The Ministry of Forests has a plan to move 40 caribou from a healthy herd in the Dease Lake area to the southern Purcell herd near Cranbrook over the next two years.

The Purcell herd has dwindled to 15 animals, and government biologist Steve Gordon said something has to be done.

"So [the herd] is in desperate need of augmentation or it's at risk of being extirpated," he said.

"The other thing is we want to take action while there are resident caribou in the Purcell south so they can learn from the behaviour of the resident herd."

Gordon said the hope is the northern caribou will join the Purcell herd.

First Nations in the north and the Kootenays are still considering whether to support the caribou relocation.

Bill Green, a biologist who works for the Ktunaxa Nation in the Kootenays, said they want the caribou, but fear wolves will be killed to keep caribou alive.

"Ktunaxa are tremendously supportive of efforts to recover caribou population but want to be sure that the plan is good for the target population and minimal harm to other parts of the ecosystem," he said.

The project would begin next spring and cost up to $10,000 per animal.