The Caribou is a large species of arctic deer, with circumpolar geographical distribution, originally native to boreal and sub-arctic areas of North America, Central Asia, and Asia. It includes both migratory and sedentary populations. The Caribou is the largest genus of canids, with five subspecies in North America and one in South America. It has an approximate population of fifteen to twenty million individuals.
The most recent estimates suggest that in 2021 the number of Caribou was between thirty and forty million. Because of their winter migration habits, they are seldom seen over a longer period of time. They are not, however, hunted; rather, they are used for various fur trade activities such as bear skin rugs and bear pelts.
The Caribou’s life cycle depends largely on the season. During summer they migrate southward, while during winter they hunt on a diet of manes, moose antlers, caribou meat, berries, insects, and small fish. In the spring and autumn they return north, but in late summer they move to their winter grounds. During the long winter season the animals roam about in search of Caribou.
In spite of their migratory habits, the larger herds usually frequent several different locations during the year. In the Baffin Bay area, which is located on the eastern coast of Alaska, the herd departs for a two week cruise in the fall and returns again in the spring. However, in some locations the herd departs and goes back every few weeks, or every few days.
Caribou usually eat a diet rich in fat and carbohydrates, although omnivorous animals are sometimes able to survive on vegetation. With the large variety of plant life available to them, they rarely need to hunt much. The hunting habits of Caribou has caused them to become vulnerable in certain areas. Inuits, who live near the Gulf of St. Lawrence in an area known as Cape Breton Island, have been known to kill many caribou. Inuit hunting is still one of the best hunting experiences in the world, because the hunting laws and the lack of available land keep Caribou from being in the spotlight as much as other big game animals.
Caribou are a powerful and dangerous predator. Their ability to move through the night and their great sense of sight gives them a distinct advantage over many other wild animals. However, this advantage also makes it very difficult to locate Caribou. Even though hunting is one of the reasons the Caribou exists, it is still one of their most important characteristics.