8 Wednesday November 11 2015 ENVIRONMENT WILDLIFE On Remembrance Day please pay tribute to the many veterans who have courageously served those who continue to serve and the sacrifices that have been made for all of us. www.rmwb.ca Scientists public come together over South Slave wildlife ENR announces three new studies on caribou wolves By DALI CARMICHAEL Wolves and caribou and moose oh my A mix of wildlife managers scientists and the public came together in Fort Smith last week for the biannual South Slave Regional Wildlife Workshop hosted by the local office ofEnvironmentandNaturalResourcesENR. Over the course of three days the group discussed ongoing initiatives to track and protect a wide range of animals with special attention to those that are harvested. The different regions have their own inter- ests some are interested in the bison some are more about the caribou some are inter- ested in the barren ground caribou said ENR wildlife technician Karl Cox. We certainly heard a lot about predators that was a big thing actually said wildlife biologist Ashley McLaren. The low water levels on the Slave River got a lot of atten- tion because that was a big thing this sum- mer. People were seeing the low levels on the river right here in town even so a lot of people brought this up as being a concern for aquatic furbearers. New studies from ENR During the informational sessions wildlife resource managers described three new up- coming studies prepared by ENR. The first will be a genetic study of the bo- real caribou that move within the South Slave region to measure the relatedness of the ani- mals starting this winter. Wemanageourprogramsbyadministrative boundaries so this genetic project may find a different way that we can manage these based on how related groups are and get at some of those lineages and as well look at howany habitat disturbance may impact their move- ment McLaren said. I think I brought up the example about a river or a road. If youre having individuals on one side that are geneti- cally different than the other well then that landscape feature - whether its human-made or natural thats creating a barrier to them. Two new studies on wolves have also been prepared. The first is a study of the wolf diet conducted through necropsies of animal carcasses. Wolf samples have already been collected though tissue from other animals still needs to be sourced to act as compara- tive tissue. The second study will examine the move- ment of wolves within the study range of the boreal caribou the Hay River lowlands. Pend- ingapprovalfromregionalIndigenousgroups scientists will use five GPS tracking devices as well as aerial surveys to keep tabs on the wolf population in the area. The more wolves there are in the area the morepressurethereisontheharvestspeciesof the bison moose and caribou Cox said. You hear sometimes that there are more wolves on the land but its hard to say. According to McLaren no similar wolf studies have been conducted in the region previously. It will be good to have that baseline data for future studies she said. Hearing concerns from the public Aswiththe2013meetingENRstaffersworked diligentlytoensurethepublicsneedswereheard. Weliketohavethesediscussionsandcollect informationfromthepublicbecauseitcanactu- allyhelpusprioritizeourfuturestudiesMclaren said noting that the 2013 meeting led to an in- crease in moose bison and predator studies. The meetings are also a welcome effort to increase communications between ENR and those who live off the land. This is a great opportunity said Stanley Beck a long time harvester and representative from Deninu Kue First Nation in Fort Resolu- tion. Its great to be able to take this informa- tionbacktomycommunity.Ionlywishwecould hear from them more often. A follow-up report documenting proceed- ings and scientific findings is expected to be compiled and prepared for distribution by the end of this year. PhotoDaliCarmichael A mix of wildlife managers scientists and the public came together in Fort Smith last week for the biannual ENR South Slave Regional Wildlife Workshop.