The maintenance and recovery of boreal populations of woodland caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou) is a critical conservation issue across Canada, with a large majority of local populations currently in decline. These populations, also known as “woodland caribou” in Quebec, are currently recognized as vulnerable under the Quebec Act respecting threatened and vulnerable species, a status equivalent to the status of threatened species under the Canadian Species at Risk Act. While several caribou populations, ecotypes or subspecies have benefited from a major research effort over the last few decades, the Val-d’Or caribou population, an isolated herd located in Abitibi-Témiscamingue, has been the subject of few studies over the last 50 years. A relic of the herd that, prior to the industrial development of the 1920s, was found from north of La Sarre to the center of the La Vérendrye wildlife reserve, the Val-d’Or caribou population has declined sharply, from ~75 individuals to only 7 over the last 65 years, a decrease of nearly 91%.
Scientific Report – Martin-Hugues St-Laurent & Jacinthe Gosselin