(photo by GNWT)

Barren-ground Caribou; Rangifer tarandus groenlandicus

Barren-ground caribou are identified by their striking white mane. These members of the deer family are held with high cultural and economic importance to people in NWT. Currently the species is listed as Threatened under both the NWT Species at Risk Listing and COSEWIC. 

The barren-ground caribou live in the tundra and use the open areas and high rocky slopes to avoid predators. In the summer months they feed on grasses, shrubs and mushrooms, while in the winter their diet is limited to lichen. Barren-ground caribou are a keystone species.

In a recent CBC article, it was noted that the caribou “calving grounds are protected under co-management plans” and that, “there are no development projects currently operating or planned for calving areas in the territory“. Although some efforts have been made in caribou population conservation, recent studies found some herds still lost up to 90% of their populations. Local land users and researchers are urging more actions be taken.

Source: NWT Species at Risk

(photo by Mathieu Dumond, Umingmak Productions)