The Caribou, also called caribou in North America, is a species of arctic deer having circumpolar Distribution, native to arid, sub-arctic, tundra, and mountain areas of northern North America. It has grayish black hair, white tipped saddle bones, large muzzle, flanks, and big tailed horns. It is distributed across all of the north-eastern quadrant of North America, except for its presence in Alaska and Baffin Bay in the far north. It has little range in coastal areas, except for a scattering in the central mountainous regions.
Birth rate is twice that of the white-tailed deer and one of the four elk. Mother gives birth to one to five kittens, depending on the age and breed of the mother. The fur grows in between. This animal is a secretive hunter, which makes it an endangered species.
Caribou herds are concentrated in three areas: in eastern Quebec, in Saint John’s River province, in eastern Ontario and in southern Quebec. Caribou give milk at birth, suckling from the nipples on sows and suckling young on the ground. Mother gives colostrum to the calf; however, this substance has been found to be contaminated with bovine colostrum and human breast milk, leading to low levels of colostrum in the calves.
In spite of their size, the adult Caribou is agile, strong and fleet-footed. They have powerful feet, powerful leaps and excellent upper body strength, even compared to elk. Their long legs enable them to walk on snow and through arrears. Their large bodies are well-built without wide hips, giving them the appearance of a bull. They have powerful knees and torsos, giving them a clamped down appearance.
Owing to their large body size, the male Caribou has a high reproductive potential. The female will give birth to up to eight infants in a year. Mother rears these young in dense forests. The young stay with the mother until they are about three months old. At that time they are weaned and able to move on their own. The young stay with the mother for about one year.
The term ‘caribou hunting’ is thought to have first been used in western Canada where the animals were known as caribou herdsmen. In the early days, caribou were brought up for sport and as a source of meat. Today, many hunters appreciate the fact that the caribou provides a food source as well as an important part of the Canadian economy. With this in mind, anyone who wishes to pursue this sport can do so, thanks to dedicated sport hunters who help preserve the unique ecological qualities of this beautiful animal.