The Caribou, also referred to as caribou in North America and Canada, is an arctic species of large deer with sub-arctic distribution, most often found in tundra, lake, and mountain regions of northern hemisphere, specifically in the region of North America and Alaska. It is also known to inhabit many regions of Asia, especially China, Russia, and Mongolia. The term Caribou came from a white-tipped horn of an animal that was widely hunted in the 1800s because of its ability to elude hunters. The name is derived from the word caribou, which means “man-stopper” in French. The term for Caribou has been around since at least part of history. In Native American language, the Caribou is called Chuntz or Cuddoo, a name that may be related to the Blackfoot Indians, whose legend is also associated with this animal.
Distribution Caribou are distributed widely across the world. These animals are found in a number of countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Botswana, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Khmer, Laos, Malta, Mexico, Mongolia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Russia, South Africa, Thailand, Turkmenistan, United States, Venezuela, Vietnam, and Yugoslavia. In Canada, these animals are commonly known as Winona or Woodland Caribou.
habitat Various subspecies of this animal can inhabit different habitats. Inhabiting areas with high vegetation and rocky ground; these animals feed upon plants and seeds, as well as dead animals, such as fish, ducks, rodents, and bats. They prefer open tundra; however, they are omnivores, consuming plant and animal matter along with their fat. They have strong, muscular frames; long legs, short bodies, powerful tails, as well as thick hides. Their feet are webbed. They can stand up to a weight of 30 pounds.
Acclimation An adult caribou has dark brown coloration on its fur. The eyes of these animals are slightly bigger than its head; it is colored all over brown, black, blue and even fawn in color. Fur comes in varied colors including black, white, tan, red, yellow, and maroon.
Life cycle A young caribou’s life span is around three years. After the young have been born, they have to stay in a harsh environment until they are old enough to move around. They have to survive harsh weather conditions, hunger, thirst, cold temperatures, and freezing rainforests; as well as hunting for their prey and protecting themselves from predators. During the winter season, they have to store up fat in order to survive the harsh winter weather. Caribou usually give birth to one to five calves; these calves become their mates and help in the growth of more Caribou.
Hunting In the early days; caribou were used for the sport of hunting. In fact, early North American Indians used caribou meat in their cuisine and also considered caribou their source of food. The main purpose was to hunt down large herds of caribou and sell them as stock. At this time, the hunting of caribou was helping to support many tribes; as well as assisting tribes in becoming self-sufficient.