Thirteen endangered mountain caribou were transplanted from British Columbia
to northeast Washington earlier this month in an ongoing effort to rebuild the
international population in the Selkirk Mountains.
The caribou were captured in the east-central Kamloops and Prince George
regions of the province and released in the Sullivan Lake Ranger District of the Colville
National Forest in Washington's Pend Oreille County.
The animals are wearing radio telemetry collars. Radio signals since their March
18 release indicate they are in the Shedroof Divide, from Grassy Top Mountain to
Thunder Mountain, due east of Gypsy Meadows. They bring the total number of caribou
in the Selkirks of northeast Washington, northern Idaho, and southern British Columbia
to about 73.
Mountain caribou are the most endangered large mammal in the United States.
The Selkirk population is the last one left in the country. Most of the Selkirk caribou live
in two herds, one in Idaho and one in British Columbia.
This month's transplant was the second in the current interagency caribou
recovery plan meant to establish a third herd in the Washington portion of the Selkirks
to help stabilize the overall population. Last spring, 19 caribou were transplanted to
Washington, seven of which are still roaming the Selkirks with three new calves. Two of
the 19 killed by cougars, two were killed by bears, one died in an apparent fall and the
cause of six deaths is unknown. Another caribou was killed illegally. The poacher still is
The current recovery project is led by the Washington Department of Fish and
Wildlife, with cooperation from the British Columbia Ministry of Environment, U.S. Fish
and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, and Idaho Department of Fish and Game.