Leave the caribou alone! This is the message of the Government of Quebec in a press release of December 15 warning the population against the harmful effects on health that human activity could have on animals, in particular a population of what is called the mountain caribou, an ecotype of the woodland caribou found in the highlands of the GaspÃ©.
The MinistÃ¨re des ForÃªts, de la Faune et des Parcs (MFFP) says that the GaspÃ© mountain caribou have been considered endangered in the province since 2009 and represent the “last vestige” of a population that once spread over the eastern Canada and the northeastern United States.
Authorities estimate that only 32 to 36 animals remain in GaspÃ©.
The MFFP asks Quebeckers to avoid certain parts of the Chic-Chocs wildlife reserve and to consider visiting other parks following recent sightings of caribou.
“The disturbance of caribou in a ravine (winter habitat) can lead to increased energy expenditure, especially in calves, thereby altering their physical condition,” the ministry said in the statement.
“It can even be detrimental to their survival by forcing them to move to areas that are less favorable to them.”
Voluntarily approaching caribou or allowing pets to do so is enough to disturb them, according to the ministry. And there could be consequences for anyone who does.
The MFFP specifies that disturbing caribou or other big game activities in their natural habitat could result in a minimum fine of $ 1,825 and a suspension of your hunting license for two years.
Other populations of woodland caribou persist in Quebec, including the woodland caribou in much of the north and the migratory caribou in the tundra.
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