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Contrasts in Use and Perceptions of Biological Data for Caribou Management

Klein, D. R.; Moorehead, L.; Kruse, J.; Braund, S. R.



Wildlife Society Bulletin



Attitudes and perceptions toward caribou (Rangifer tarandus) management practices held by users and managers of the Western Arctic Herd (WAH) in Alaska and the Beverly and Qamanirjuaq herds (BQH) in Canada were compared through structured interviews with both users and managers. Collection of population dynamics data received highest priority by managers in both Alaska and Canada, with aerial photocensuses, recruitment surveys, and calving-ground surveys emphasized. Alaskan managers also emphasized making natality and mortality surveys and plotting herd movements, whereas in Canada, range-use patterns, wildfire effects on movements, delineation of calving grounds, and access of caribou to traditional users are important in management. Differences in priorities to collect biological data to manage the WAH and the BQH resulted from the larger range for the BQH, complications of monitoring 2 herds with overlapping ranges in Canada, somewhat greater funding and logistic resources available in Alaska, and the greater number of jurisdictions in Canada. Indigenous hunters, who are the primary users of the caribou of the WAH and the BQH, found herd monitoring practices used by managers, such as radiocollaring and aerial surveys, more acceptable in Alaska than in Canada. In Alaska, hunters indicated a greater willingness to accept restrictive hunting quotas, if they were to be imposed, than was the case in Canada. Managers are increasingly recognizing that indigenous knowledge has a role to play in caribou management; caribou users are including, with their traditional views of the ways of the caribou, information derived from biological investigations.

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