Wildlife Viewing Changes on the Burnside River

Caribou by the thousand were almost guaranteed! The sweet spot each year was June 19. That was the date for beginning an arctic Burnside River trip with the best chance of viewing large numbers of migrating caribou. They would be returning from calving on the east side of Bathurst inlet, accompanied by wolves, grizzlies, foxes and raptors. A veritable wildlife extravaganza… but then it stopped, or did it? Where did they go? Well after some years of investigation, it seems they shifted their birthing destination to the WEST side of the inlet, and now they no longer cross the Burnside River in the same numbers. Gone with them is the parade of camp-followers, the carnivores and omnivores that exist in their midst and on their flanks. The fact that their population has dropped from 450,000 to only 16,000 animals is also likely a factor – and grave concern. Biologists and others are perplexed by the change. Another census is being conducted in June, 2018. That will provide a snapshot, but won’t change the realities.

The good news is we continue to have great wildlife viewing success on the Firth River.

Share this article!

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email

More to explore

Bison by Broken Skull River

Wood Bison in the Spotlight

Learn about the NWT’s wood bison herds along the Nahanni from CBC Naturalist Brian Keating. This species-at-risk is coming back due to efforts to reintroduce populations to the territory.

Read More
Peregrine Falcon on the Firth River

Raptors Thrive on the Firth

On a recent expedition to the Firth River we marvelled at the robust populations of birds of prey in the region, a heartening sign of a healthy ecosystem. This journey was one of our Rafting with Researchers expeditions, where guests are treated to the firsthand expertise of Parks Canada researchers.

Read More
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Stay connected to the north

Sign up for our monthly newsletter—full of northern stories, wild travel tips and must-know updates on the latest of what’s happening in our world. The adventure starts here:

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.