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WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE     Print Version
NEWS RELEASE
600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091


February 12, 1997
Contact: Madonna Luers, (509) 456-4073

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Reward available for information about poached caribou

OLYMPIA -- Rewards totaling $1000 are available to anyone who provides information leading to the conviction of the poacher who killed an endangered woodland caribou in northeast Washington in December.

The radio telemetry collar of the adult cow caribou was found by Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) biologists in early December approximately one mile northwest of Northport. It appears the animal was killed and the collar removed. The collar was too small to pass over the animal's large antlers without human intervention.

The caribou was one of 19 that was captured in northern British Columbia last spring and released in northeast Washington to boost the population in the Selkirk Mountains. The Selkirk population, which totals only approximately 60 caribou, is the only one left in the United States, making the species the most endangered large mammal in the country.

Prior to the December poaching, 11 of the 19 died. Cougars and bears killed most of them. No evidence of human involvement in those deaths was ever found. A "mortality" signal is given off by the radio collar once it stops moving for an extended time, leading biologists to the carcass.

Jon Almack, WDFW project biologist, reported the last radio-tracked location of the poached caribou was in late November about 15 miles northeast of Northport, near Abercrombie Mountain. He said that the animal was the most far-ranging of any of the 19, tracked as far south as Molybdenite Mountain about eight miles due east of Tiger, as far north as Ymir, B.C., as far west as Alice Mae Mountain five miles west of Northport, and as far east as the Shedroof Divide in Idaho.

Almack said the cow was always a loner, and never was seen with a calf. He also said she had good-sized antlers at the last sighting. (Both male and female caribou have antlers.)

WDFW and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) enforcement officers ask that anyone with information about the poached caribou call and leave information on the Washington poaching hotline: 1-800-477-6224. Information also can be relayed through the WDFW Spokane regional office at 509-456-4082 or USFWS Spokane office at 509-928-6050.

All information will be held in confidence. If information leads to the conviction of a caribou poacher, the state can provide a $500 reward. The Inland Northwest Wildlife Council also will contribute a $500 reward.