The BC Conservation Officer Service will be installing better signage warning of closed areas to protect caribou on Mica Mountain.

“The mapping is in place but the signage is poor so we’re going to go out of our way to do some more work down there,” said Sgt. Jeff Tyre.

“We have identified numerous areas where folks have gone out of bounds and that’s of great concern for us.”

Tyre said as well as roving patrols and area patrols, COS is also talking to people about their knowledge of the closures and where they can find that information.

“We’ve landed twice in a helicopter and we’ve talked to people,” he said.

“The third time would have been on Saturday and I talked to a group of six that were just inside a closure. We land and we discuss the boundaries and see what information they’ve got, how they’ve done their due diligence to know where they are, and we’ll work with them for how did you not see the boundary, what can we do to improve compliance, and then from there we determine where we’re going to go with enforcement and action after that.”

Two men had their snowmobiles seized this past weekend (Saturday, March 9) and are currently being investigated for offences under the Wildlife Act and Off-Road Vehicle Act after they were observed operating in an area closed in the Likely area to protect caribou by a COS and RCMP aerial patrol.

Tyre said snowmobilers entering untracked areas allow predators an easy access route and that the sound from the machines can drive the animals out of areas causing them a lot of stress.

“We’re using everything that we can to try and spread the word, show people that we’re out there, fly the flag, and just get that general knowledge that there are caribou closures out there and just be aware of where they are,” he said.

“The onus is on the public to do that.”