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LibbyMt.com > News > April 2012 > Wandering caribou returned to Canada

Caribou. Photo by Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks.
FWP biologists Tim Their and Tim Manley secure a caribou on a sled in the Pinkham Creek area south of Eureka. Photo courtesy Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks.
Wandering caribou returned to Canada
by Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks
April 30, 2012

Update Tuesday, May 1, 2012, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks:

Wandering Caribou, Apparently Recovered, Released Back into the Wilds of British Columbia

According to British Columbia wildlife officials, the caribou that was rescued in Montana last week has apparently recovered and was released this past weekend.

The caribou was rescued in upper Pinkham Creek by FWP biologists after having succumbed to apparent tick paralysis. The caribou was transferred to British Columbia wildlife staff for holding until she recovered. This past weekend, she was able to stand on her own and walk and appeared healthy. There was a good weather window so the decision was made to fly the caribou back up into the Purcell Mountain high country.
"They were able to release her on a ridge just above 10 resident caribou" said Jim Williams, R-1 Wildlife Program Manager. "When they lifted off she was observed walking in their direction."

Wildlife managers are hoping the caribou will survive and add to the gene pool of the resident caribou in the Cranbrook, B.C. area.

Follow the caribouís progress and find other current information on wildlife on FWPís new Region 1 Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/MontanaFWP.R1

Original post, April 30, 2012:
A radio-collared woodland caribou that wandered south into Montana from British Columbia has been returned to Canada.

On Thursday, FWP biologists received a report that a caribou was dead in the Salish Mountains in Pinkham Creek south of Eureka. The report was based on a "mortality signal" from the radio collar the caribou wore. The female caribou was part of a woodland caribou augmentation effort in the south Purcell's near Cranbrook just across the border. In this effort, 19 caribou from northern B.C. had been released about 40 miles north of the U. S. border last month.

FWPís Jim Williams, Tim Thier, and Tim Manley traveled by snowmobiles to the caribou location based on signals from the Argos collar the caribou wore. They found the caribou alive but unable to stand. After loading the animal on a sled, they transported her to the trailhead and then on to a veterinarianís office in Eureka. The veterinarian treated the caribou with a drug to counter the effects of tick paralysis, which was the expected problem. The caribou was also given two bags of IV fluid to combat dehydration.

FWP contacted biologists in British Columbia and the caribou was transported north. As of today the animal is on its feet. If the caribou recovers, B. C. wildlife officials plan to re-release the animal near resident caribou in B. C.

FWP Wildlife Manager Jim Williams noted that it is common for some animals to wander after they are released into new habitat. Fortunately, this valuable animal was found alive and returned to wildlife managers in Canada.

Caribou were once native to Montana but are now considered very rare. Occasionally, a caribou wanders south of the Canadian border into Montana.

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