The Government of BC has, effective immediately, increased fines for unlawful use of off-road vehicles and snowmobiles in caribou sensitive habitats.
The fines, which used to be $230 or $345, depended on the severity of the violation, and did not reflect the effort of non-compliance to sensitive habitats and species. That fine has now been bumped to $575 and is enforceable in any sensitive habitat, including all BC Parks.
For those who are convicted of snowmobile in the southern mountain caribou habitats, a possible six month prison sentence and up to $200,000 fine, is waiting.
Violation tickets may be issued under the Wildlife Act or the Park Act by police, conservation officers, natural resource officers or park rangers.
A press release from the provincial government notes that “caribou are considered a species at risk, and protecting caribou habitat ranges is crucial to the survival of the species. Controlled and limited access to sensitive habitats by off-road vehicles, such as snowmobiles, is the most effective way to protect these areas and wildlife from harmful recreation activities.”
“The Province has committed to a new long-term, comprehensive, science-based approach to protect and preserve caribou populations: the Provincial Caribou Recovery Program. The Province has put aside $27 million over three years to establish this program.”
Revelstoke is one of the few areas with southern mountain caribou, and has recently played home to relocated caribou from herds to small to sustain near Nelson and Kimberley BC. The caribou maternity pen, a project of Revelstoke Rearing in the Wild, has proven effective in reducing calf mortality rates over the past few years, as they have the advantage of being in a predator free location the first few weeks of their lives.
The province announced their commitment to caribou recovery in new long-term, comprehensive, science-based approach to protect and preserve caribou populations: the Provincial Caribou Recovery Program. The Province has put aside $27 million over three years to establish this program.