The Ontario government has launched an operation to relocate an endangered herd of caribou off the remote island on which they have been systematically hunted down by recently arrived wolves.
The operation, which began on Saturday and is described by government officials as a “delicate dance”, involves rounding up the remaining caribou off Michipicoten Island in Lake Superior and transporting them by helicopter to the nearby Slate Islands.
Officials with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry said they hope the relocation will allow the herd a chance to rebuild, adding the desire is to see the animals one day return to Michipicoten.
No one can seem to agree on the extent of the damage to the caribou population, with community members, government officials and ministry researchers all offering different estimates about the size of the remaining herd. All agreed, however, that intervention was necessary.
Michipicoten First Nation Chief Patricia Tangie, who has argued that the government waited too long to take action, also called on intangible forces in order to protect the animals she feels are vital to the community.