Nfld. & Labrador

Hunting ban on George River caribou herd upheld by provincial government

A provincial ban on the hunting of caribou in the George River herd in Labrador will continue until March 31, 2017.

'We cannot allow hunting during this devastating decline,' says environment minister

The provincial government has upheld a hunting ban for the George River caribou herd in Labrador. (CBC)

A provincial ban on the hunting of caribou in the George River herd in Labrador will continue for at least the next year.

After a recent scheduled review of biological factors, population changes and consultations with Aboriginal governments and organizations, the provincial government announced Wednesday the hunting ban would continue until March 31, 2017.

The ban was first implemented in 2013.

Minister of Environment and Conservation Perry Trimper said in a statement the findings of the most recent studies show a continued decline in the herd, with fewer calves and high adult mortality.

"While in October the number of calves in the population showed improvement for the second consecutive year, a classification survey conducted just weeks ago revealed that the number of calves has again dropped to alarming levels," read Trimper's statement.

"This, combined with high adult mortality, is contributing to a further decline in the population. We cannot allow hunting during this devastating decline."

The overall decrease in the herd is thought to be linked with predation, climate change, disturbances in caribou environment and illegal hunting, according to the province.

A survey in the fall of 2015 determined there are 10,200 George River caribou left in Labrador and Quebec, which shows the population had declined by about half since 2013.

There will be a further review of the ban to determine herd status and health in the future.

now