'It was frickin' epic'

'It was frickin' epic' r1 ... View this e-mail in your browser. “I got home and I thought ‘man, this is frickin’ epic. I should post this.’"

"So I did.”

That's what Slocan valley farmer Jim Ross told our reporter Sarah Cox when she reached out to discuss Ross' very intriguing Facebook post.

In that post, Ross described stumbling across a secretive government convoy as he stopped for gas last week in Salmo, B.C. The convoy's cargo obviously contained a trailer of animals but Ross couldn't quite see what they were. He inquired.

“They all looked like deer in the headlights and behaved like they were on some secret mission,” Ross wrote. “When I wouldn’t stop pressing, the driver told me they were caribou.”

Following up on what Ross had witnessed, Sarah discovered B.C. was quietly removing the last female caribou from the South Selkirk and South Purcell herds — rendering them both functionally extinct. The caribou had been tracked by helicopter that morning, captured with net guns, blindfolded and hobbled, sedated, flown to staging areas and loaded into the trailer as part of an elaborate government rescue mission that cost between $20,000 and $30,000.

Although the hope for the extracted animals is that they will join the Columbia North caribou herd, the disappearance of two of B.C.'s Kootenay populations — that have existed on the landscape for thousands of years — wasn't lost on Ross.

“It just saddens the hell of me,” Ross told Sarah. “I have two daughters who are 19 and 21 and they’re never going to see a caribou.”

Sarah's scoop meant The Narwhal reported the caribou relocation a full five days before the province even issued a press release on the operation.

It's a sign of how closely Sarah works the species at risk beat in B.C. — a difficult but increasingly important task, especially as the province of B.C. continues to permit logging operations in the critical habitat of endangered species, including the spotted owl.

A tough story to tell and we're glad Sarah's the one telling it.

As always, we have more for you this week including an in-depth piece on the eye-widening controversy over Alberta's plan to protect Bighorn Country. Please read on!

Carol Linnitt
Managing editor, The Narwhal Big thanks again to Pacific Wild for sharing our story and connecting it to B.C.'s ongoing wolf cull.

‘It can’t be a free-for-all anymore’: The battle for Bighorn Country

By Sharon J. Riley

Serious misinformation has spread about a proposal to protect the eastern slopes of the Rockies, stirring anger from a small group of enthusiastic off-roaders. And yet, the vast majority of Albertans support the plan, which allows for a lot more outdoor recreation and off-roading than many are being led to believe. Read more.

Sharon's story on the Bighorn features backcountry photos from the talented Darwin Wiggett. See the photos. Follow us on Twitter Reader spotlight
One of our Victoria supporters passed us a note in class. We're blushing.

Thanks, Michael
From The Narwhal crew

A dispute over title to land is a civil — not a criminal — matter

By Kent McNeil

Pipelines are short-term development projects whose environmental consequences make them highly controversial.

The Wet’suwet’en, on the other hand, have been governing their territory in environmentally respectful and sustainable ways for thousands of years. So how can the balance of convenience favour a resource exploitation company in these circumstances? Read more. ICYMI:

December was a busy month. Here are some gems we don't want you to miss.

PHOTO ESSAY: It devours our land

By Aaron Vincent Elkaim
Surrounded on three sides by oilsands operations, the Fort McKay First Nation has benefited tremendously from industrial development — while also experiencing firsthand its environmental consequences. See the photos.

Many of Alberta’s ‘reclaimed’ wells aren’t actually reclaimed: government presentation

By Sharon J. Riley
With the click of a button, oil and gas companies can receive certificates for site clean up — almost always without any on-the-ground inspection from the regulator — in a system one former inspector says is failing Albertans. Read more. If you support our work and want to help us keep it ad, influence and paywall free, become a member. Snag one of our sassy toques while you're at it by supporting The Narwhal at a level of $20/month or more.

Look great. Do great. Or make a one-time donation to The Narwhal What we're reading this week What we're listening to This podcast will no doubt knock your socks off. This impressive investigative series from CBC Uncover takes an uncomfortably close look at the self-help/professional development/sex cult NXIVM and how it developed one of its top leaders in Vancouver.
Now's a good time to listen as federal indictments for NXIVM's executives are being handed out in the U.S. This week we were doing things with the wolf moon on Instagram Don't let important stories catch your friends off guard. Send them this newsletter signup link. Copyright © 2018 The Narwhal, All rights reserved.
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