“Who is Caribou?” is the question many people pose to their local wildlife experts and guides all over the world. While it’s true that some of the North American caribou herds are being protected by special Canadian and US laws and even insurance companies cannot claim responsibility for loss or damage due to hunting or fishing, the question remains – who is caribou? Is it an actual animal, a subspecies, a new species, or simply a reindeer with hair? This article will attempt to give some answers to these questions and at the same time explain what makes Caribou unique.
First, it should be made clear that caribou cannot be classified as a single species. In truth, there are nine subspecies recognized by Canadian Parks and Wildlife Service as of 2021. The most common subspecies is the calving pair in southern Canada; together, they produce around 200,000 specimens. In addition, there are three more subspecies: black, island-dwelling, and red. Each subspecies has its own specific characteristics, including age (how old the animal is), size, behavior, habits, and ancestry. Some characteristics of the animals are shared between all nine, while others vary from one subspecies to the next.
Because there is no one species recognized as the true mother of the caribou, there is no guarantee that the baby caribou that you’ll hatch off of any given mother will still have the same features as her offspring. However, some characteristics do tend to become more prevalent among the various subspecies. For example, black caribou tend to grow hairier coats, grow bushy tails, and stand straighter than their island cousins. This is because black caribou lose their fur in the winter, which keeps their coats lightweight and free of tangles so that they can grow more quickly.
Island caribous, on the other hand, grow longer and thicker hair than their mainland cousins, with the fur is darker. They also have larger and fuller ears, which are set higher on their head. While island caribou do occasionally wander from their islands, they generally stay put and travel in groups of up to five or six. Males and females also differ in how they hunt. Females generally choose to sit in a tree and wait for the boughs of flowers to fall before taking a shot; however, males often scent a boar or rabbit ahead and leap into action.
In order to answer the question “whose caribou?” you also need to know who the mother caribou is. Unlike mainland caribou, which give birth to their young in the summer after a long winter sleep, sibambule caribous give birth to their young in the spring after a period of hibernation. Each species has a different way of caring for its young, so you may need to find out which specific species you’re dealing with.
The presence or absence of these different species can greatly affect who is caribou? There are many books devoted solely to the identification of specific caribou species, so this shouldn’t be a problem. However, the lack of knowledge about specific species means that sometimes the answer can be a guess. In the case of who is caribou? there’s no definite answer, but one thing is certain: whatever you call them, they are truly amazing creatures, and you should be proud to own one.