The Caribou, also called caribou in North America, an arctic species of large deer with seasonal distribution, found throughout tundra, sub-arctic, boreal, highlands, and mountain regions of north, central, and south America. This includes both migratory and sedentary populations. There are about 15 hunting subspecies in the Caribou population, with two breeding populations in the southern regions. The population in the southern mountains has become genetically isolated from other remnant caribou populations in past decades. However, the population in the north is increasing due to a rise in hunting pressures, while remaining largely stable in southern mountain locations.
A spring migration takes the Caribou to southern Alberta, but journeys frequently cross through central Baffin province, Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan. Males spend most of their time on ice while females roam around in the tundra. During July to September, the Caribou head for Canada’s eastern coast, where they mate with black-backed voles, white-tailed deer, moose, and black bears. The March migration continues through southern Ontario, Quebec, and New York, where the animals stay for a number of weeks. Then the Caribou begin their long trek across the northern United States, with a final stop in the southern states of North and South Carolina.
Aided by its large hooves, the male Caribou is capable of consuming a variety of foods, including small shrubs, grasses, berries, seeds, and roots. It is the only animal in the animal kingdom that eats all these in one single day. The female Caribou, which weigh up to seventy pounds during the fall, feeds mostly on soft fruits, seeds, and berries. Her diet helps her develop a strong body and a thick fur for winter.
A male’s characteristic features include a short coat that is bushy and thick all over, with several tufts of hair tufted from the body. They also have a pointed crest, and a thick rump. The ears of the male are black with a pointed tip, while female Caribou’s ears are red with a slight swelling. Their eyes are alert and oval in shape. The paws of the male are larger than those of the female.
Male Caribou usually have dark fur and head shapes that resemble that of a raccoon. They have dense fur and large pointed ears. Males also have a prominent black-tipped rump. Females are slightly smaller and have darker colored coats.
The tail of a Caribou varies in length and may be long or short and fat. The latter feature helps them in their hunting activities, as it allows them to keep away from their prey. In fact, they are said to avoid eating whenever they are not hungry, which makes them even more agile and swift when it comes to running away from danger. Their tail also serves as their means of balance and poise while they walk and their muscular development in this area also increases the power of their leap.