A recent call-in radio show hosted by Bethel-based KYUK gave local subsistence users and federal managers a chance to share local knowledge of the Mulchatna caribou, and discuss how federal authorities plan to manage the hunt. https://t.co/SDT88j0tIL
— Alaska Public Media News (@AKpublicnews) November 27, 2019
Southwest Alaska’s Mulchatna Caribou herd has decreased to less than half its numbers, leaving wildlife officials with suspicions but no clear answers. https://t.co/oQDZg7vS2n
— KTUU.com (@Ch2KTUU) November 25, 2019
Here’s more from Alaska Public Media:
Kenton Moos is the federal in-season manager for the Mulchatna caribou herd for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and he laid out the stakes.
“Any overharvest is going to be detrimental, and the idea is not only to recover this herd, but to do it in a timely manner,” he said.
Why the population dropped in half, from more than 27,000 caribou in 2016 to 13,500 in 2019, is unknown. But there are suspected causes, and the decline can likely be attributed to a combination of them. Moos says that the possibilities include predation, over-hunting, disease, an increase in older caribou that are naturally dying and a recent string of warm, rainy winters.