Investigating the Multi-Faceted Factors Impacting Caribou Conservation Challenges, in Canada

  • Kossivi Fabrice Dossa
  • Yann Emmanuel Miassi
Keywords: Caribou populations, Habitat fragmentation, Climate change impacts, Anthropogenic infra structures, Conservation policies


The declining caribou populations in Quebec face an array of factors that contribute to their conservation crisis. These include climatic and human-induced causes. The expansion of activities like logging and mining has led to the fragmentation of their habitats posing significant challenges to their survival. Habitat disturbances, combined with the effects of climate change, have resulted in changes to food availability and migration patterns while also making them more vulnerable to predators, wolves. Additionally anthropogenic infrastructure development and recreational activities such as hunting further compound the difficulties these species encounter in maintaining populations.

The caribou conservation issue is further complicated by emerging health risks associated with diseases and parasites. These health concerns may have emerged due to interference or changing climate conditions. The presence of these diseases along with increased predation pressure has led to a rise in mortality rates among caribou populations.

Apart from environmental challenges, policy barriers also contribute to exacerbating the situation. Canada's diverse provinces and territories face challenges in implementing conservation policies due to the lack of uniformity and conflicts between interests and conservation goals. To address this issue, it is crucial to adopt a collaborative strategy that ensures the long-term survival of caribou within the wilderness.


Almalki, A. M., Ajarem, J., Altoom, N., Al-Otaibi, F. S., Maodaa, S. N., Allam, A. A., & Mahmoud, A. M. (2019). Effects of mining activities on Gerbillus nanus in Saudi Arabia: A biochemical and histological study. Animals, 9(9), 664.
Andrews, T. D., & MacKay, G. (2012). The archaeology and Paleoecology of Alpine ice patches: A global perspective. ARCTIC, 65(5).
Antwi, E. K., Boakye-Danquah, J., Owusu-Banahene, W., Dabros, A., Eddy, I., Silver, D. A., Abolina, E., Eddy, B., & Winder, R. S. (2023). Risk assessment framework for cumulative effects (RAFCE). Frontiers in Environmental Science, 10.
Barber, J. R., Crooks, K. R., & Fristrup, K. M. (2010). The costs of chronic noise exposure for terrestrial organisms. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 25(3), 180-189.
Bergerud, A. (1988). Caribou, wolves and man. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 3(3), 68-72.
Bergerud, A. T. (1971). Hunting of stag caribou in Newfoundland. The Journal of Wildlife Management, 35(1), 71.
Bergerud, A. T. (1974). Decline of caribou in North America following settlement. Journal of Wildlife Management, 38(4), 757-770.
Bergerud, A. T., & Elliot, J. P. (1986). Dynamics of caribou and wolves in northern British Columbia. Canadian Journal of Zoology, 64(7), 1515-1529.
Bernhardt, E. S., & Palmer, M. A. (2011). The environmental costs of mountaintop mining Valley fill operations for aquatic ecosystems of the central appalachians. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1223(1), 39-57.
Bortnikova, S., Yurkevich, N., Devyatova, A., Abrosimova, N., Saeva, O., Cherny, N., Palchik, N., Danilenko, I., Shuvaeva, O., & Troitskii, D. (2019). Transfer of chemical elements in vapor-gas streams at the dehydration of secondary sulfates. E3S Web of Conferences, 98, 05004.
Boulanger, J., Adamczewski, J., & Davison, T. (2018). Estimates of caribou herd size using post-calving surveys in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut, Canada: A meta-analysis. Rangifer, 38(1), 39-78.
Bradley, M., & Neufeld, L. (2012). Climate and management interact to explain the decline of Woodland caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou) in Jasper National Park. Rangifer, 183-191.
Bridges, J., & Solomon, K. R. (2016). Quantitative weight-of-evidence analysis of the persistence, bioaccumulation, toxicity, and potential for long-range transport of the cyclic volatile methyl siloxanes. Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Part B, 19(8), 345-379.
Brook, R. K., & McLachlan, S. M. (2008). Trends and prospects for local knowledge in ecological and conservation research and monitoring. Biodiversity and Conservation, 17(14), 3501-3512.
Brook, R. K., Kutz, S. J., Veitch, A. M., Popko, R. A., Elkin, B. T., & Guthrie, G. (2009). Fostering community-based wildlife health monitoring and research in the Canadian north. EcoHealth, 6(2), 266-278.
Brown, C. D., & Vellend, M. (2014). Non-climatic constraints on upper elevational plant range expansion under climate change. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 281(1794), 20141779.
Buuveibaatar, B., Young, J. K., Berger, J., Fine, A. E., Lkhagvasuren, B., Zahler, P., & Fuller, T. K. (2013). Factors affecting survival and cause-specific mortality of saiga calves in Mongolia. Journal of Mammalogy, 94(1), 127-136.
Callaghan, T. V., Johansson, M., Brown, R. D., Groisman, P. Y., Labba, N., Radionov, V., Barry, R. G., Bulygina, O. N., Essery, R. L., Frolov, D. M., Golubev, V. N., Grenfell, T. C., Petrushina, M. N., Razuvaev, V. N., Robinson, D. A., Romanov, P., Shindell, D., Shmakin, A. B., Sokratov, S. A., … Yang, D. (2011). The changing face of Arctic snow cover: A synthesis of observed and projected changes. AMBIO, 40(S1), 17-31.
Camara, I. S. (2021). The impact of mining exploration on Sangaredi community’s sustainable development: Inhabitants perspectives on livelihood. Global Journal of Engineering Sciences, 7(5).
Carlsson, A. M., Curry, P., Elkin, B., Russell, D., Veitch, A., Branigan, M., Campbell, M., Croft, B., Cuyler, C., Côté, S. D., Leclerc, L., Tryland, M., Nymo, I. H., & Kutz, S. J. (2019). Multi-pathogen serological survey of migratory caribou herds: A snapshot in time. PLOS ONE, 14(7), e0219838.
Cassirer, E. F., Plowright, R. K., Manlove, K. R., Cross, P. C., Dobson, A. P., Potter, K. A., & Hudson, P. J. (2013). Spatio-temporal dynamics of pneumonia in bighorn sheep. Journal of Animal Ecology, 82(3), 518-528.
Chagnon, C., Bouchard, M., & Pothier, D. (2022). Impacts of spruce budworm defoliation on the habitat of Woodland caribou, moose, and their main predators. Ecology and Evolution, 12(3).
Chou, R., & Huang, F. (2021). Building community resilience via developing community capital toward sustainability: Experiences from a Hakka settlement in Taiwan. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(17), 9012.
Clair, T. A., Dennis, I. F., & Vet, R. (2011). Water chemistry and dissolved organic carbon trends in lakes from Canada’s Atlantic provinces: No recovery from acidification measured after 25 years of lake monitoring. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, 68(4), 663-674.
COSEWIC. (2003). assessment and update status report on the Woodland caribou, Rangifer Tarandus caribou: Atlantic-gaspésie population, boreal population, southern mountain population, northern mountain population, Newfoundland population in Canada.
Courbin, N., Fortin, D., Dussault, C., & Courtois, R. (2009). Landscape management for Woodland caribou: The protection of forest blocks influences wolf-caribou Co-occurrence. Landscape Ecology, 24(10), 1375-1388.
Cowhitt, T., & Cutts, A. (2020). Using network analysis to compare bibliographic database journal coverage. Journal of Electronic Resources Librarianship, 32(3), 195-210.
De Biase, C., & Losco, S. (2017). Up-grading illegal building settlements: An urban-planning methodology. Procedia Environmental Sciences, 37, 454-465.
DeMars, C. A., Gilbert, S., Serrouya, R., Kelly, A. P., Larter, N. C., Hervieux, D., & Boutin, S. (2021). Demographic responses of a threatened, low-density ungulate to annual variation in meteorological and phenological conditions. PLOS ONE, 16(10), e0258136.
Dickie, M., McNay, S. R., Sutherland, G. D., Cody, M., & Avgar, T. (2019). Corridors or risk? Movement along, and use of, linear features varies predictably among large mammal predator and prey species. Journal of Animal Ecology, 89(2), 623-634.
Donovan, V. M., Brown, G. S., & Mallory, F. F. (2017). The impacts of forest management strategies for Woodland caribou vary across biogeographic gradients. PLOS ONE, 12(2), e0170759.
Dyer, S. J., O'Neill, J. P., Wasel, S. M., & Boutin, S. (2001). Avoidance of industrial development by Woodland caribou. The Journal of Wildlife Management, 65(3), 531.
Dyer, S. J., O'Neill, J. P., Wasel, S. M., & Boutin, S. (2002). Quantifying barrier effects of roads and seismic lines on movements of female Woodland caribou in northeastern Alberta. Canadian Journal of Zoology, 80(5), 839-845.
Eacker, D. R., Hebblewhite, M., Steenweg, R., Russell, M., Flasko, A., & Hervieux, D. (2019). Web‐based application for threatened Woodland caribou population modeling. Wildlife Society Bulletin, 43(1), 167-177.
Estes, M. G., Al-Hamdan, M. Z., Crosson, W., Estes, S. M., Quattrochi, D., Kent, S., & McClure, L. A. (2010). Using land cover data to characterize living environments of Geocoded addresses: Estes et al. Respond. Environmental Health Perspectives, 118(3).
Etsy. (2021). Caribou in the tundra fall color fine art photographic print. (n.d.). Etsy Canada - Shop for handmade, vintage, custom, and unique gifts for everyone. Accessed on 26/09/2023. fine?click_key=537323d86fd820b6282292da31cbee803577826e%3A1370005886&click_sum=5c48737d&ref=sim_strv-4
Festa-Bianchet, M., Ray, J., Boutin, S., Côté, S., & Gunn, A. (2011). Conservation of caribou (Rangifer tarandus) in Canada: An uncertain future. Canadian Journal of Zoology, 89(5), 419-434.
Francis, C. D., & Barber, J. R. (2013). A framework for understanding noise impacts on wildlife: An urgent conservation priority. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 11(6), 305-313.
Gamberg, L., Prokudin, A., & Radyushkin, A. (2017). Preface QCD evolution workshop 2016. Proceedings of QCD Evolution 2016 — PoS (QCDEV 2016).
Ge, C., Beauchamp, G., & Li, Z. (2011). Coordination and synchronisation of anti-predation vigilance in two crane species. PLoS ONE, 6(10), e26447.
Gibson, A. K., Raverty, S., Lambourn, D. M., Huggins, J., Magargal, S. L., & Grigg, M. E. (2011). Polyparasitism is associated with increased disease severity in Toxoplasma gondii-infected marine Sentinel species. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 5(5), e1142.
Gonzales, E. K., Nantel, P., Rodgers, A. R., Allen, M. L., & Drake, C. C. (2015). Decision-support model to explore the feasibility of using translocation to restore a Woodland caribou population in Pukaskwa National Park, Canada. Rangifer, 35(2), 27.
Green, K. M., Beaudreau, A. H., Lukin, M. K., & Ardoin, N. M. (2022). Pathways to subsistence management in Alaska national parks: Perspectives of harvesters and agency staff. People and Nature, 4(6), 1664-1678.
Henik Lake Adventures. (2023). caribou hunts. Accessed on 08/10/2023
James, A. R., Boutin, S., Hebert, D. M., & Rippin, A. B. (2004). Spatial separation of caribou from moose and its relation to predation by wolves. Journal of Wildlife Management, 68(4), 799-809.[0799:ssocfm];2
Jenkins, E. J., Veitch, A. M., Kutz, S. J., Hoberg, E. P., Polley, L., Elkin, B. T., & Lair, S. (2006). Climate change and the epidemiology of protostrongylid nematodes in northern ecosystems: Parelaphostrongylus odocoilei and Protostrongylus stilesi in Dall's sheep (Ovis d. dalli). Parasitology, 132(5), 387-401.
Johnson, C. J., Boyce, M. S., Schwartz, C. C., & Haroldson, M. A. (2004). Modeling survival: Application of the andersen–Gill model to Yellowstone grizzly bears. Journal of Wildlife Management, 68(4), 966-978.[0966:msaota];2
Joly, K., Duffy, P., & Rupp, T. S. (2012). Simulating the effects of climate change on fire regimes in Arctic biomes: implications for caribou and moose habitat. Ecosphere, 3(5), art36.
Joly, K., Klein, D. R., Verbyla, D. L., Rupp, T. S., & Chapin, F. S. (2010). Linkages between large-scale climate patterns and the dynamics of Arctic caribou populations. Ecography, 34(2), 345-352.
Kamangadazi, F., Mwabumba, L., Missanjo, E., & Phiri, F. (2016). Selective harvesting impact on natural regeneration, tree species richness and diversity in forest Co-management block in Liwonde forest reserve, Malawi. International Journal of Scientific Research in Environmental Sciences, 4(2), 47-54.
Kendrick, A., & Manseau, M. (2008). Representing traditional knowledge: Resource management and Inuit knowledge of barren-ground caribou. Society & Natural Resources, 21(5), 404-418.
Koper, N., & Manseau, M. (2009). Generalized estimating equations and generalized linear mixed‐effects models for modelling resource selection. Journal of Applied Ecology, 46(3), 590-599.
Kutz, S. J., Ducrocq, J., Verocai, G. G., Hoar, B. M., Colwell, D. D., Beckmen, K. B., Polley, L., Elkin, B. T., & Hoberg, E. P. (2012). Parasites in ungulates of Arctic North America and Greenland. Advances in Parasitology, 99-252.
Kutz, S. J., Jenkins, E. J., Veitch, A. M., Ducrocq, J., Polley, L., Elkin, B., & Lair, S. (2009). The Arctic as a model for anticipating, preventing, and mitigating climate change impacts on host–parasite interactions. Veterinary Parasitology, 163(3), 217-228.
Laliberte, A. S., & Ripple, W. J. (2004). Range contractions of North American carnivores and ungulates. BioScience, 54(2), 123.[0123:rconac];2
Latham, A. D., Latham, M. C., Boyce, M. S., & Boutin, S. (2011). Movement responses by wolves to industrial linear features and their effect on Woodland caribou in northeastern Alberta. Ecological Applications, 21(8), 2854-2865.
Leblond, M., Dussault, C., & Ouellet, J. (2013). Impacts of human disturbance on large prey species: Do behavioral reactions translate to fitness consequences? PLoS ONE, 8(9), e73695.
Lesmerises, R., & St-Laurent, M. (2017). Not accounting for interindividual variability can mask habitat selection patterns: A case study on Black bears. Oecologia, 185(3), 415-425.
Li, H., Liu, S., & Cai, T. (2022). Measurement of forest ecological benefits based on big data. Sustainability, 14(12), 7248.
Lovett, J. C., Takshe, A. A., & Kamkar, F. (2021). Evaluation of environmental policy with Q methodology. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Environmental Science.
Masood, S., Van Zuiden, T. M., Rodgers, A. R., & Sharma, S. (2017). An uncertain future for Woodland caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou): The impact of climate change on winter distribution in Ontario. Rangifer, 37(1), 11.
Murray, D. L., Cox, E. W., Ballard, W. B., Whitlaw, H. A., Lenarz, M. S., Custer, T. W., Barnett, T., & Fuller, T. K. (2006). Pathogens, nutritional deficiency, and climate influences on a declining moose population. Wildlife Monographs, 166, 1-30.[1:pndaci];2
Nicholson, A. (2020). Te Hihiri: A process of coming to know. MAI Journal: A New Zealand Journal of Indigenous Scholarship, 9(2).
Nobert, B. R., Larsen, T. A., Pigeon, K. E., & Finnegan, L. (2020). Caribou in the cross-fire? Considering terrestrial lichen forage in the face of mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) expansion. PLOS ONE, 15(4), e0232248.
Otekunrin, O. A., Mukaila, R., & Otekunrin, O. A. (2023). Investigating and quantifying food insecurity in Nigeria: A systematic review. Agriculture, 13(10), 1873.
Parlee, B., Manseau, M., & Dene First Nation, L. K. (2010). Using traditional knowledge to adapt to ecological change: Denésoliné monitoring of caribou movements. ARCTIC, 58(1).
Parrott, L., Chion, C., Gonzalès, R., & Latombe, G. (2012). Agents, individuals, and networks: Modeling methods to inform natural resource management in regional landscapes. Ecology and Society, 17(3).
Pettorelli, N., Vik, J. O., Mysterud, A., Gaillard, J., Tucker, C. J., & Stenseth, N. C. (2005). Using the satellite-derived NDVI to assess ecological responses to environmental change. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 20(9), 503-510.
Post, E., & Forchhammer, M. C. (2007). Climate change reduces reproductive success of an Arctic herbivore through trophic mismatch. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 363(1501), 2367-2373.
Post, E., Forchhammer, M. C., Bret-Harte, M. S., Callaghan, T. V., Christensen, T. R., Elberling, B., Fox, A. D., Gilg, O., Hik, D. S., Høye, T. T., Ims, R. A., Jeppesen, E., Klein, D. R., Madsen, J., McGuire, A. D., Rysgaard, S., Schindler, D. E., Stirling, I., Tamstorf, M. P., … Aastrup, P. (2009). Ecological dynamics across the Arctic associated with recent climate change. Science, 325(5946), 1355-1358.
Purvis, O. W. (2010). Lichens and industrial pollution. In L. C. Batty & K. B. Hallberg (Eds.), Ecology of Industrial Pollution (pp. 41-69). Cambridge University Press.
Rempel, R. S., Elkie, P. C., Rodgers, A. R., & Gluck, M. J. (1997). Timber-management and natural-disturbance effects on moose habitat: Landscape evaluation. The Journal of Wildlife Management, 61(2), 517.
Rettie, W. J., & Messier, F. (1998). Dynamics of Woodland caribou populations at the southern limit of their range in Saskatchewan. Canadian Journal of Zoology, 76(2), 251-259.
Rudolph, T. D., MacNearney, D., & Finnegan, L. (2019). Lost in translation? Insights into caribou habitat selection from forest inventory data. FACETS, 4(1), 531-550.
Russell, D. E., Martell, A. M., & Nixon, W. A. (1993). Range ecology of the porcupine caribou herd in Canada. Rangifer, 13(5), 1.
Saturno, J., Boeckner, M., Haché, S., Hodson, J., McAuley, E., McIntire, E., Micheletti, T., Polfus, J., Sliwa, S., Teed, T., & Westwood, A. R. (2023). Setting a foundation for Indigenous knowledge systems‐guided boreal caribou (tǫdzı) conservation planning in the western boreal region of Canada: A systematic map protocol. Ecological Solutions and Evidence, 4(1).
Schaefer, J. A. (2003). Long‐term range recession and the persistence of caribou in the Taiga. Conservation Biology, 17(5), 1435-1439.
Schindler, D., & Lee, P. (2010). Comprehensive conservation planning to protect biodiversity and ecosystem services in Canadian boreal regions under a warming climate and increasing exploitation. Biological Conservation, 143(7), 1571-1586.
Senko, S. (2021). Nordic forest solutions as an opportunity to reform the forestry sector in Russia: A case study in the Republic of Karelia. Dissertationes Forestales, 2021(320).
Serrouya, R., McLellan, B. N., Boutin, S., Seip, D. R., & Nielsen, S. E. (2011). Developing a population target for an overabundant ungulate for ecosystem restoration. Journal of Applied Ecology, 48(4), 935-942.
Solmundson, K., Bowman, J., Manseau, M., Taylor, R. S., Keobouasone, S., & Wilson, P. J. (2023). Genomic population structure and inbreeding history of Lake Superior caribou. Ecology and Evolution, 13(7).
St-Pierre, F., Drapeau, P., & St-Laurent, M. (2021). Drivers of vegetation regrowth on logging roads in the boreal forest: Implications for restoration of Woodland caribou habitat. Forest Ecology and Management, 482, 118846.
Strielkowski, W., Lutsenko, E., & Pavlov, D. (2021). Fossil fuel industry development in the 21st century: A case of coal. SHS Web of Conferences, 128, 02004.
Suraci, J. P., Smith, J. A., Chamaillé‐Jammes, S., Gaynor, K. M., Jones, M., Luttbeg, B., Ritchie, E. G., Sheriff, M. J., & Sih, A. (2022). Beyond spatial overlap: Harnessing new technologies to resolve the complexities of predator–prey interactions. Oikos, 2022(8).
Vistnes, I., & Nellemann, C. (2007). Impacts of human activity on reindeer and caribou: The matter. Rangifer, 27(3), 47.
Vors, L. S., & Boyce, M. S. (2009). Global declines of caribou and reindeer. Global Change Biology, 15(11), 2626-2633.
Vors, L. S., Schaefer, J. A., Pond, B. A., Rodgers, A. R., & Patterson, B. R. (2007). Woodland caribou extirpation and anthropogenic landscape disturbance in Ontario. The Journal of Wildlife Management, 71(4), 1249-1256.
Whitman, E., Parisien, M., Price, D. T., St‐Laurent, M., Johnson, C. J., DeLancey, E. R., Arseneault, D., & Flannigan, M. D. (2017). A framework for modeling habitat quality in disturbance‐prone areas demonstrated with Woodland caribou and wildfire. Ecosphere, 8(4).
Whittington, J., Hebblewhite, M., DeCesare, N. J., Neufeld, L., Bradley, M., Wilmshurst, J., & Musiani, M. (2011). Caribou encounters with wolves increase near roads and trails: A time-to-event approach. Journal of Applied Ecology, 48(6), 1535-1542.
Wilkinson, C. J. (2010). An analysis of government actions for the protection and recovery of forest-dwelling Woodland caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou) in Ontario, Canada. Rangifer, 30(1), 67-77.
Williamson-Ehlers, E. P. (2012.). Impacts of industrial developments on the distribution and movement ecology of wolves (Canis lupus) and Woodland caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou) in the south peace region of British Columbia.
Wittmer, H. U., Sinclair, A. R., & McLellan, B. N. (2005). The role of predation in the decline and extirpation of Woodland caribou. Oecologia, 144(2), 257-267.
Wray, K. (2018). Ways we respect caribou: A comparison of rules and rules-in-Use in the management of the porcupine caribou. In K. Wray (Ed.), When the Caribou Do Not Come (pp. 173-189). UBC Press.
How to Cite
Dossa, K. F., & Miassi, Y. E. (2023). Investigating the Multi-Faceted Factors Impacting Caribou Conservation Challenges, in Canada. European Journal of Science, Innovation and Technology, 3(6), 1-25. Retrieved from