Climate Variations Affecting Caribou Activity

The Caribou, also called caribou in North America, which is a type of large white-tailed deer with south Siberian, sub-Arctic and tundra distribution, mostly to the north of the Alaskan arctic. This includes both migratory and sedentary populations. They are very adaptable to the cold climate of Alaska.

Caribou herds are distributed on an irregular scale in the Alaskan region. There they appear mostly together, but can be separated in certain locations. The most important sources of information regarding these animals are their records in local parks, hunting leases, web sites and news publications from around Alaskan. Information about migrations can also be gathered through websites of Canadian Parks, or by contacting local wildlife authorities. The animals migrate every year, following the paths of the sun, which appears in the winter months, then move southwards towards the Bering Sea.

The main activities for which these animals are hunted are for their valuable fur Caribou. Their winter ranges usually cross the coastal plain into Canada, from where they travel southwards into the mountains of British Columbia, Washington State and Minnesota. During this time they feed on a variety of soft-tissue animals such as wood, brush, reeds, acacia, jute and sagebrush, which provides them with an abundant source of sustenance. During the summer they move to the higher elevation, where they feed mainly on mountain goats and caribou. During autumn they return to the coastal plain to feed on caribou and other migratory animals.

Caribou herds are closely associated with the weather conditions of the Alaskan region. The caribou that feed on young trees have a high risk of death when hit by a falling tree. In the past, the animals have been hunted for their meat, but in recent years many Alaskan communities have banned the practice. For the purpose of their survival, the animals have adapted by producing less body fat and by hunting larger animals. In some areas they are rarely seen, except when females push their young during the winter. During this time they feed on the moose, white-tailed deer, black bear, coyote and Alaska King Crab.

The large herds, which are concentrated in the Taku and Kvichak River Valleys, spend the winter months in calmer areas along the migration routes. They avoid the coastal Plain entirely and only come out into the warmer Alaskan regions during the summer. The weather conditions are usually quite comfortable for the herds throughout the year, although the migration season is short. The snow does not affect their migratory paths at all.

During the summer the snow melts and the ice melts in the Arctic Ocean. This water is used as an incubator for fish eggs. If the temperature in the water reaches above zero for more than a few days, the fish eggs will hatch and float away. However, if the temperatures stay in the low to moderate range, the water is good for fish eggs and small marine life such as shad, salmon and other sea species. Therefore, the ice and snow do not have an impact on the herds’ ability to move and can sometimes be beneficial to the wildlife population.

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