Mountain Caribou in B.C. are red-listed by the Conservation Data Centre for B.C. Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks as a result of declining population trends and ongoing threats. In 2000, the Mountain Caribou Technical Advisory Committee began investigating the feasibility of a captive breeding program as a recovery measure. The Committee requested that a disease risk assessment be made to ascertain the health risks to captive Caribou, humans, and wild and domestic species at the breeding site and in the release environment that would be caused by a captive breeding program. This report outlines Caribou capture, transport, captive breeding, and release protocols, identifies and characterizes disease risks, and recommends mitigation strategies. Overall findings are that probability of disease in the captive Caribou or transfer to other species is low. The capture and movement of Mountain Caribou into captivity, holding there for breeding, and release to the wild does not create unacceptable risks to wild populations of Caribou or other cervids. Good husbandry and management practices, permanent quarantine of the captive Caribou, diligent monitoring, and ongoing research by all parties involved in the captive breeding program are believed to be the keys to mitigating identified risks.
Sifton, Dr. E., Dr. H. Schwantje. 2001. Disease Risk Assessment for an Experimental Captive Breeding Program of Mountain Caribou (Rangifer tarandus) in British Columbia. Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks. Wildlife Working Report. WR120