It is often said that forms of wildlife management are mostly not about managing the animals, but about managing people. Some Indigenous peoples find it disrespectful to even talk about managing caribou. In that spirit, this section is largely about managing human interventions that affect caribou.
Some threats to Arctic caribou are difficult to manage locally. Climate-driven threats such as the potential introduction of new diseases, additional insect harassment, and changes in vegetation will require international action way beyond the scope of governments and communities in Canada. That does not mean that communities and governments in Canada are powerless. They can take some actions that will tend to help caribou survive, by reducing other threats.
Where caribou are migratory, they cross into several jurisdictions, crossing boundaries between Indigenous governments, territorial governments, provincial governments and even international boundaries. This can make management more difficult. One approach to this problem has been to develop management boards that bring together diverse stakeholders to manage one or more caribou herds. Examples of this approach are the Porcupine Caribou Management Board, and the Beverly and Qamanirjuaq Caribou Management Board. A similar approach is to develop management plans through a cooperative grouping of existing wildlife management boards. For instance, the Advisory Committee for Cooperation on Wildlife Management brings together the Gwich'in Renewable Resources Board, Ɂehdzo Got’ı̨nę Gots’ę́ Nákedı (Sahtu Renewable Resources Board), the Wek’èezhìi Renewable Resources Board, the Kitikmeot Regional Wildlife Board, and Tuktut Nogait National Park Management Board. Together, these boards cover an area from the southern NWT to the Arctic Coast in Nunavut, and have drafted caribou management plans for three herds. Some communities are also drafting their own caribou management plans. It is not yet clear how these community level plans will connect with other levels of caribou management.
It is clear that there are natural variations in herd size that seem to follow cycles. The current concern is that other factors may be driving herds beyond the usual limits of their lowest numbers, and may not be able to recover and increase. This concern is what is driving management actions. Just as there are various opinions on the most important drivers of decline, there are differing opinions on the best management actions to take. In this section, you will find discussion of some of the measures already being taken, and potential further measures.