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Dwindling caribou population being moved off Michipicoten Island — by air

The first seven caribou have been relocated from Michipicoten Island, north to Slate Islands in Lake Superior. Crews with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry will air-lift more of the herd Monday.

Remaining herd being moved by MNRF to get animals away from wolves

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      The first seven caribou have been relocated from Michipicoten Island, Ont., 130 kilometres north to Slate Islands.

      The work is being conducted by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.

      In an email to CBC news, MNRF spokesperson Jolanta Kowalski says more of the animals are expected to be relocated Monday.

      The nearby community of Michipicoton First Nation has been concerned about the caribou on the island since last spring.

      That's because the population is being wiped out by wolves, who crossed to the island on a rare ice bridge a few winters ago.

      One of the first caribou from Michipicoten Island, near Wawa is relocated 130 km north to Slate Islands. The herd is in jeopardy of being wiped out by wolves. (MNRF/ supplied)

      Activists had been calling on the province to intervene and last month, the lands and resources consultation coordinator with the first nation, Leo Lepiano, said the ministry's action came after extensive lobbying.

      "It is very unfortunate that the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry allowed the situation to get to the point where the translocation of caribou is required," he told CBC News in December.

      "Michipicoten First Nation requested the non-lethal removal of the wolves as early as April 10, 2017. Unfortunately, that option was definitively ruled out in November."

      A caribou is released after being moved by helicopter. (Supplied/MNRF)