Rob Chaney/The Missoulian
They finally got a new caribou in Montana, and they had to give it back.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks biologists thought they were recovering the satellite collar of a British Columbia caribou that apparently wandered into the mountains near Eureka and died. But when they reached it on Thursday morning last week, the recovery mission turned into a rescue.
“I was looking for signs of blood or hair,” FWP wildlife manager Jim Williams said on Friday. “I saw wolf tracks, and then we found a drag mark, so I’m thinking mountain lion. All of a sudden this head pops up, and there’s a caribou looking at us.”
The mountain caribou cow was one of 19 transplanted into the Purcell Mountains of near Cranbrook on March 3. For the past 10 days, it had been wandering the forests south of the Canadian border, swimming across Lake Koocanusa three times.