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June 25, 2022

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Authorities plan more patrols to protect caribou

The Columbian
Published:

COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho (AP) — A federal official says patrols will be stepped up to catch snowmobilers illegally riding in a caribou recovery area in northern Idaho and eastern Washington state.

Joan Jewett of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service tells The Spokesman-Review that most snowmobilers obey the rules but some ignore boundaries intended to help federally protected woodland caribou in the Selkirk Mountains.

Officials say less than 50 caribou are thought to remain in the Selkirk herd, the last in the lower 48 states.

The caribou survive in winter above the snowline by eating lichens hanging on subalpine firs or snags.

Agencies taking part in the patrols are the Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Jewett says snowmobiles can force caribou to expend energy they need to survive the winter.

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Information from: The Spokesman-Review, http://www.spokesman.com

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