Tŝilhqot’in National Government - Wildlife

The Tŝilhqot’in Stewardship Department continues to pursue discussions and projects around species and their habitat needs for long-term improvement of the land base in the Chilcotin.  Many of TNG’s projects include conducting wildlife research to make informed wildlife decisions and recommendations on the land. 

Research and Data

Below is a list of current and past research and data produced by the Wildlife team in the Stewardship department at TNG. 

  • TNG Bighorn Sheep M.Ovi. Testing and Collaring project – the second and final year of this project occurred with the collars coming off in the beginning of May 2024. There were a number of mortalities, however, not as many as the first year of the project since that Tsuniah/Nemiah cougar was removed. We started with 39 collars being deployed and by the end of this fiscal the collars still active was down to 24. The next steps are to collect the collars in summer of 2024, download all of the data and start to complete the various analysis we have planned.
  • Chilko Grizzly Bear Collaring Project – collaring happened in the fall along the Taseko River and the Nemiah Valley/Chilko Lake. This project has ran for a third year in a row where nine bears were captured, eight of which had collars deployed on them. Six sows and three boars were collared in Fall 2023 with three of the sows being collared along the Chilko Lake, two boars and one sow at Nemiah Valley Lodge and the other one sows and one boar along Taseko River. One sow slipped her collar off after about a week, one boar was killed soon after being collared (not collar related), and one sow may have died during hibernation. All three sows from the first year had their collars come off this year. Some bears went into hibernation around the same time as previous years, however, many delayed going into dens until December with one sow going in and out of dens sites until mid-January. The majority of the bears were not out of their dens or were just coming out of their dens at the end of fiscal. Most of these bears were not in a satisfactory condition for the fall with some being the skinniest captured by BC staff. One sow (the one that may have died in her den) had 3% body fat in early October. The previous year we had caught one sow with 42% body fat while most bears are in the 20-35% range.
  • Chilko Grizzly Bear DNA Transect – the second year of this project however, there was limited funds available so only two collections occurred this year. We have not yet submitted the DNA for genetic results yet.
  • TNG Elk Collaring project – TNG deployed four collars on elk in the West Branch area of the Chilcotin to collect information on the elk living in that general area. One of the four elk was killed by a cougar in late winter. The remainder of the elk are alive and all of their DNA was tested to determine which subspecies they belong to. These elk are Rocky Mountain elk (same subspecies as in the Quesnel area) and not the coastal subspecies of Roosevelts elk.
  • Grizzly Cub Recruitment Survey – crews attempted to locate the collared grizzly sows with the DJI Mavic drone, however, they were unable to locate the sows so we were unable to get any information from early summer for the number of cubs with each sow.
  • TNG Bighorn Sheep Lamb Recruitment Drone Survey – TNG used our Matrice 300 RTK for the first survey on bighorn sheep in the Farwell Canyon area. Our first season helped us to refine the methods and was quite successful in locating and counting bighorns at distances of up to 5000ft. This method did provide a way for us to locate and count sheep effectively with some in locations we were not likely to have observed without the drone. We will continue this method in 2024.
  • TNG hired a seasonal wildlife crew to complete numerous wildlife surveys and trail camera/ARU site maintenance. They were hired from the end of April to the end of August before both staff returned to school.

Wildlife Magazine

The 2024 edition of the first TNG Wildlife Magazine will focus on providing summaries of all known program, projects, and surveys for the various wildlife species in the territory with an emphasis on TNG work. This edition will act as a one stop shop for referencing wildlife work. Stay tuned for the release of this publication in this year. 

Planned Projects

TNG is also planning projects for a number of wildlife species projects or surveys for the upcoming year including:

  • Cow and bull moose collaring (scheduled for January 2025)
  • Grizzly bear and black bear collaring in low elevation habitat (this is cancelled because we are not being issued a permit)
  • Lamb recruitment surveys (ground and drone summer 2024)
  • Ground based mountain goat surveys (scheduled for August 2024)
  • Feral horse collaring (scheduled for winter 2024/25)
  • Aerial survey of feral horses (delayed due to weather until winter 2024/25)
  • Sharp-tailed grouse lek surveys (late April to mid-May 2024)
  • Wildlife surveys (throughout summer 2024)
  • Habitat surveys (throughout summer 2024)
  • Trail camera maintenance (throughout 2024)
  • Species specific management planning workshops (winter 2024/2025).