Labrador Innu fear caribou habitat will be damaged by a hydroeletric dam in Labrador that has been proposed by Nalcor.

A panel holding hearings on the potential impact of the development of hydroelectric dams on the lower Churchill River in Labrador is being given conflicting opinions about what the project would mean for caribou herds.

The province's energy company, Nalcor, said proposed dams at Muskrat Falls and Gull Island would not affect the caribou.

Labrador Innu have disagreed, especially when it comes to the threatened Red Wine herd. It's believed there are fewer than 100 animals left.

"If you ask an elder what will this project will mean to the Red Wine caribou, they will say without a doubt it will have major effects on them," said Larry Innis, an advisor to the Innu nation.

Nalcor's scientists don't agree the dams would affect the caribou adversely. They said flooding caused by the dams would have very little impact on caribou habitat.

Wildlife biologist Perry Trimper said the development would have a negligible impact on the much larger George River population. "It would represent about 0.2 per cent of the entire range of this herd," he said.

Perry said bears, wolves and hunters are the biggest threats to caribou in the area.