Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, May 21, 2015

Contact: Noah Greenwald, (503) 484-7495 or

City of Sandpoint, Idaho Shows Love for Endangered Mountain Caribou,
Passing Resolution in Support of Recovery of Last U.S. Reindeer

Center for Biological Diversity, Selkirk Conservation Alliance to
Unveil Caribou Mural in Downtown Sandpoint on Sunday

SANDPOINT, Idaho— The city of Sandpoint passed a resolution last night supporting recovery of the endangered mountain caribou and calling for augmentation of the southern Selkirk herd, which is the last herd found in the contiguous United States. The resolution comes just as the Center for Biological Diversity and Selkirk Conservation Alliance are preparing to unveil a mural of the caribou on the Snow River Building in downtown Sandpoint.

Caribou mural
Photo by Roger Peet. Mural artists are Roger Peet, Mazatl and Joy Mallari from the Justseeds Artists Cooperative. This photo is available for media use.

The unveiling ceremony, at 2 p.m. Sunday, will include remarks from Noah Greenwald, the Center's endangered species director, and Roger Peet, the Justseeds Collective artist who designed and oversaw the painting of the mural. 

“The endangered mountain caribou is found nowhere else in the United States besides the Selkirk Mountains of Idaho's Panhandle and should be not just saved, but celebrated,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species director at the Center. “We’re so glad the city of Sandpoint has recognized it has something special in the mountain caribou and is supporting these animals’ recovery.” 

Caribou once ranged across much of the northern lower 48 states, including the northern Rocky Mountains, upper Midwest and Northeast, but today are down to only the southern Selkirk herd, which straddle the border with Canada. The herd is part of a unique form of woodland caribou, known as mountain caribou, that are adapted to surviving winters with deep snow, relying on dinner-plate-sized hooves that work like snowshoes and an ability to subsist for three to four months at a time on nothing but arboreal lichens found on old-growth trees. The herd was protected under the Endangered Species Act in 1984 and in recent years has declined to precariously low numbers, with fewer than 50 animals now remaining. 

“Endangered mountain caribou need our help and care,” said Greenwald. “Sandpoint's resolution and willingness to feature these beautiful animals on a mural clearly show that people care about these endangered creatures and don't want them to be lost.”

In the 1990s the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service augmented the southern Selkirk herd with animals from other herds, which helped to stabilize the population for a time. But the Fish and Wildlife Service has repeatedly determined that further augmentation is badly needed to boost herd numbers and ensure caribou do not die out in the lower 48 states. Sandpoint's resolution supports augmentation and shows that there is local support for saving the southern Selkirk herd.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 825,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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