Caribou Program Update: Summer 2017 Field Work # 2

Up Sheep Creek

July 12, 2017

The Caribou Program ventured into the wilds of Sheep Creek for our third shift investigating high residency habitat for Woodland Caribou in particular the Redrock- Prairie Creek herds. We set up our quaint home at the Sheep Creek campground, a short truck ride away from our sites. This shift, we were joined with a badass volunteer, Gillian Fraser (@gillianfras), a graduate student from the University of Victoria completing a project on caribou calf mortality within these ranges. Her terrible jokes and go-getter attitude will not be soon forgotten.

This shift was truly an uphill battle—but it was worth the fight! Many sites were located along the tops of tree-lined mountain ridges with cascading slopes. Although the trek up the steep ridges was tough (and I mean, heavy-breathing, bucket-sweating tough), it was the first time we caught glimpses of woodland caribou on this landscape. We found small scatterings of scat amidst the lichen and even an antler shed! It was inspiring to see evidence of caribou residency at these sites and provided extra motivation when the hordes of mosquitoes were a bit too much, and the midnight wake-up calls from the passing trains at the Sheep Creek Rec. Area interrupted our dreams of dancing caribou.

The incredible views and frequent wildlife encounters remained the most memorable moments. Marlene and Ashley were treated to 14 grizzly bears, while Adam and Gillian encountered a Canada Lynx crossing a logging road and a swooping Great Grey Owl. Eventually, smoke from the B.C. wildfires clouded much of the sunshine and kept the wildlife hidden away for the remaining days. The Caribou Crew would like to send their best wishes to the families displaced by the B.C. wildfires.

Shift 3

Kelsey and Mackenzie
July 12, 2017

It’s the last day of the shift. After eight days of tedious moss and lichen surveys, extra hot weather, and heavy smoke in the air, we are headed out for our final day. Just after crossing over the Wild Hay River on the Polecat, we spot something on the road up ahead. 


Mom and her pups scurry into the ditch. 

We stop the truck for a minute and they poke their heads back out to say hello! For a short while we watch them frolic and play before heading off to finish the shift with our spirits lifted and a spring in our step!