What's On Our Quarter? The past and future of Canadian caribou
No, it's not a moose, which is what most people think it is. The animal is actually a caribou -- one of the most important but misunderstood species in Canada. Paul Kennedy reports from the International Caribou Conference in Thunder Bay about the past and the future of Canadian caribou. **This episode originally aired October 25, 2016.
"I will always remember the first time I experienced caribou in the wild. Who could forget? I was in Iqaluit, the capital of Nunavut, and I'd decided to follow an intriguing street sign identifying the Road to Nowhere. Being a journalist, of course, I had to find out what Nowhere was like, so I followed the road to Nowhere. It was winter, and it was dark -- very dark and very cold. I went up to 'nowhere', which was actually, the old DEW Line Station, and when I got up there, and I found that it was eerily flat, which was weird, because everything else around Iqaluit is fairly rough. I don't know how long I was sitting there, contemplating the stars and the sky, but suddenly I looked up, and I realized I was surrounded by hundreds -- I won't say thousands -- but hundreds of caribou! At first I felt frightened, because all of those animals were bigger than me, and they were all surrounding me by the time that I realized it. I was in the middle of a herd of caribou and they were moving very slowly, almost in slow motion. I'm getting goose bumps again as I remember the experience. And I suddenly thought, "This is AMAZING!"
-- Paul Kennedy on his first (and only!) confrontation with caribou in the wild.
Guests in this episode:
- Walter Bezha is the Special Advisor on caribou, Deline First Nation.
- Stan Boutin (FRSC) holds an Alberta Biodiversity Conservation Chair in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Alberta.
- Anne Gunn contributes to CARMA (The CircumArctic Rangifer Monitoring and Assessment Network) and to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature's Deer Specalist Group.
- Justina Ray is President and Senior Scientist at the Wildlife Conservation Society Canada.
- Martin-Hughes St-Laurent is a Professor at the Universite de Quebec a Rimouski.
- James Schaefer is a Professor of Caribou Biology and Director of the Environmental and Life Sciences graduate programme at Trent University.
- Isabelle Schmelzer is a Senior Biologist with the research section of the Newfoundland and Labrador Wildlife Divsion.