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PO Box 3041 

Bozeman, MT 59718

(406) 404-1297

© 2019  The International Caribou Foundation. 

CARIBOU 101

(Rangifer tarandus)

Wide hooves and narrow legs help caribou travel through deep snow

Cariibou are the only Species of Deer That Females and Males Both Grow Antlers

HOOVES ARE CONCAVE TO HELP CARIBOU DIG THROUGH SNOW AND Forage for FOOD

Caribou Hair is hollow Helping to Insulate them in cold environments and float in water

Run up to

50MPH

(80 kph)

weigh Up to

600 lbs

(182 kg)

Migrate Up To

3000mi/yr

(5000 km)

Antlers Grow Up To

1 inch

per day

There are 15 recognized caribou sub-species across the globe in...

 

Europe

Finnish forest reindeer

Svalbard reindeer

Mountain reindeer

Asia

Busk reindeer

Novaya Zemlya reindeer

Kamachatkan reindeer

Siberian tundra reindeer

Siberian forest reindeer

Did you know?

Caribou can inhabit a variety of different ecotypes within their range, such as tundra plains, dense boreal forests, and more mountainous regions, as well. 

North America

Woodland caribou

Barren-ground caribou

Porcupine caribou

Osborn's caribou

Peary caribou

Newfoundland caribou

Labrador caribou

NPS PHOTO

Population

According to a 2018 survey conducted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration:

"Overall abundance of reindeer and caribou has declined 56 percent from a total estimated population of 4.7 million individuals to about 2.1 million individuals over the past two decades."

  • "Only 1 of the more than 20 monitored herds is confirmed to have populations near their historic high numbers based on updated estimates since the 2013 Arctic Report Card.

  • In the U.S., of the four tracked herds, three peaked sometime between 2003 and 2010 only to decline 57 percent by 2017. 

  •  In Canada, nine herds declined so precipitously that barren-ground caribou are now nationally listed as Threatened, and two herds of Eastern Migratory Caribou are now considered Endangered.

  • In Russia, 18 of 19 assessed herds are considered rare, decreasing, or Threatened."

Human and caribou interaction

Humans have long depended on caribou herds for sustenance in otherwise inhospitable regions of the world. Indigenous groups like the Gwich'in nation in the Artctic circle are still intimately interconnected with the migration patterns of the caribou, which they hunt and use as a traditional food source. In parts of Siberia, nomadic groups like the Chauchu peoples still herd reindeer and travel with them on their great migration paths as they have for milennia. In North America, Scandinavia, and

Russia, hunting seasons are managed by federal wildlife officials and tags are available to the general public. Unfortunately, poaching and overhunting has surfaced as an issue in these remote locations where enforcement is often lacking. Sustainable hunting practices and proper enforcement must be a part of the solution.   

 

Read more about the North American Wildlife Conservation Model

Threats

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NPS PHOTO

NPS PHOTO

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NPS PHOTO

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