Submitted by Arrow Lakes Caribou Society Central Selkirk Maternity Pen project
The Arrow Lakes Caribou Society Central Selkirk Maternity Pen project has seen the first caribou calf, a female, born on the morning of May 24.
ALCS shepherds collared the calf and weighed it, discovering it to be 9.7 kg, which is big for a caribou calf. All caribou cows and the new calf are healthy and doing well.
In March 2022, the Arrow Lakes Caribou Society (ALCS) captured seven female adult caribou and one female yearling and placed them in the maternity pen to increase the chances of successful birthing and calf survival.
In late April, the ALCS announced that all seven adult females were pregnant and eagerly awaited the arrival of the first calf. The caribou have been cared for by ALCS shepherds, fed a highly nutritious diet, and protected from predators to help facilitate a healthy pregnancy and birth.
Female caribou exhibit physical and behavioural changes as they get close to calving and will wander away from the herd and stay in one location for an extended period of time to give birth.
Within an hour after birth, caribou calves can walk and are nursing from their mothers. The milk that the calf re ceives within the first 24 hours is called colostrum and is full of nutrients and antibodies that are important for the calf’s health.
Between 24 to 48 hours after birth, the calf is examined by veterinarians and collared so it can be tracked after release from the pen. Collaring provides important up-to-date data on the caribou’s activity in the wild. The objectives of the maternity pen project are to improve calf survival, improve adult female survival, and increase caribou abundance in the Central Selkirk range. Follow this project online at www.arrowlakescaribousociety.com and on social media – Facebook: @arrowlakescaribou, Instagram: @arrow_lakes_caribou.
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