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.