The Bathurst caribou is named for Bathurst Inlet, the general area of the herd’s traditional calving grounds.
The herd was estimated to about 350,000 animals in the mid-1990s. Population surveys since 2003 indicate a rapid decline in the population size as shown below:
2003 186,000 animals
2006 128,000 animals
2009 32,000 animals
2012 35,000 animals
2015 approximately 16,000-22,000 animals
The number of breeding cows has dropped by 50 percent to 8,000 since 2012.
All resident, commercial and outfitted harvesting of the Bathurst herd was suspended in 2010 and limited bull only Aboriginal harvest of 300 caribou was put in place.
All harvest of the Bathurst herd was suspended in December 2014 and a mobile Bathurst Mobile Conservation Core Area was put place. These harvest restrictions remain in place.
A framework for the monitoring, assessment, and management of cumulative effects on the herd has been established. The process to review this framework with co-management partners and the public is underway.
Steps to develop a long term management process for the Bathurst caribou herd are also underway.