HINTON, AB, August 24—The fRI Research Caribou Program is asking hunters in the Hinton-Edson-Grande Cache area to collect selected biological samples from moose, deer and elk this fall. These samples will be used to better understand the potential for parasite and disease transmission from these species to locally threatened caribou inhabiting the same range.
Direct information on the health status of caribou in the Hinton region is limited by the number and type of samples obtained from the occasional mortality, such as road killed caribou. However, with the help of citizen scientists hunting the much more abundant moose, deer and elk within caribou range, we can indirectly monitor important parasites and diseases that may adversely impact caribou.
“Hunters want to fill the freezer but there is also a wealth of health information contained within that animal” said Barry Nobert, a wildlife biologist working on the project. “Any sample we get helps us better understand caribou health and helps with caribou conservation”.
Kits for collecting blood and hair samples are small and come with easy to follow instructions. They can be picked up in Hinton at Home Hardware or High Caliber Sports. To encourage participation, hunters who submit samples will be entered into a draw to win one of two $50 gift cards.
More information about the project at friresearch.ca/ungulatehealth
The fRI Research Caribou Program
fRI Research is a non-profit research organization focused on finding science-based solutions to issues within land and resource management. The fRI Research Caribou Program carries out applied research, in partnership with industry and the Government of Alberta, to help maintain caribou herds in Alberta into the future.