Nfld. & Labrador

Caribou numbers still dropping: outfitter

An outfitter in central Newfoundland is questioning assertions that the decline of two caribou herds has been halted.

Too soon to claim victory, lodge owner says

An outfitter in central Newfoundland is questioning provincial government assertions that caribou herds in his area are no longer declining in numbers.

Wildlife Minister Ross Wiseman said last week he believes the decline of some caribou herds has been stopped because of hunting has been curbed in recent years.

He said there has been no significant drop in numbers in the herds's last two population counts.

"The science does not support what the minister says," said Wayne Holloway, an outfitter who operates a hunting lodge close to the Middle Ridge caribou herd near Buchans.  

Holloway is a member of the provincial Caribou Resource Committee.

He said Wiseman is not taking into consideration that calf survival in the herd is still only 10 per cent of what it was — well below the point where the herd can sustain itself.

"Until you get a high percentage survivorship among calves, from 25 to 40 per cent, you will not see any growth in that herd," he said.

Holloway blames the decline on logging and increased predation.