George River Caribou Herd Critically Vulnerable During Winter

The Department of Environment and Climate Change is reminding residents that the hunting ban for the George River Caribou remains in effect and is essential to the herd's recovery.

There is a significant portion of the remaining animals in the George River Caribou Herd near the communities of Nain and Natuashish, this visible presence should not be interpreted as a resurgence in the herd's population.

There are only 8,938 caribou remaining in this herd and any mortality would be of concern. Letters advising the status of the herd and its significant vulnerability have been sent to the leadership of the Nunatsiavut Government, the Innu Nation, the NunatuKavut Community Council, as well as the Labrador Hunting and Fishing Association.

The George River Herd has now decreased by 99 per cent since the early 1990s when the population was estimated at approximately 800,000 animals. This high population level is thought to have resulted in deterioration of habitat and food resources for caribou and this is what initiated the population decline. Once the decline phase was underway, additional factors including predation, hunting and possibly climate change became increasingly significant.