To save them from wolves, researchers fly caribou from Lake Superior island
As climate change leaves caribou more often trapped in close quarters with their predators, the Ontario government had to get creative to save three of the animals stuck on an island with wolves.
The wolves have taken over Michipicoten Island in Lake Superior, killing the majority of the caribou herd.
Helicopters herded the caribou to an open area over the weekend and captured them with a gun net. After sedating them, the team of veterinarians, animal handlers, research scientists and pilots loaded them onto another helicopter.
The three animals were among nine the government was able to relocate to the Slate Islands in the hopes they will repopulate.
Climate change means ice bridges to the mainland that used to form most winters now form only sometimes. That leaves caribou marooned on islands with wolves, said retired biologist Gordon Eason.
Michipicoten Island used to be home to hundreds of caribou, but the population has included no more than 40 individuals since 2013, according to Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.