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

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March 31, 1997
Contact: Madonna Luers, (509) 456-4073

Thirteen caribou transplanted from Canada to Washington

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 being sought.

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.