Rick shares a sighting from his hometown of Tuktoyaktuk on the shore of the Arctic Ocean. “Check out the Caribou mother and baby – not far from the centre of town”. It’s fitting that we are looking at caribou in Tuk, because Tuktoyaktuk is the anglicized form of the native Inuvialuit place-name, meaning “resembling a caribou.” According to legend, a woman looked on as some caribou waded into the water and turned into stone, or became petrified. Today, reefs resembling these petrified caribou are said to be visible at low tide along the shore of the town. You might be wondering why that female has antlers: Pregnant females keep their antlers until shortly after their babies are born in the spring. Keeping the antlers during winter helps them compete for food, which they need more of to nourish their unborn babies.
DID YOU KNOW? Caribou – peaceful vegetarians – are primarily animals of the north. Up in that part of our incredible country is the Porcupine herd which ranges between the Arctic coast of Yukon and Alaska. Some groups of caribou are called herds, and others are referred to as populations. The difference is that some groups migrate to areas where the caribou give birth. These calving areas give the name to the herd. So, for instance, the Porcupine herd ‘calves’ in the area of Porcupine River, Yukon. The caribou that do not appear to migrate for calving are simply referred to as populations, such as the Victoria Island population. Some migrating caribou walk more than 4,400 kilometres in a year between calving grounds and trying to find food.
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