The Caribou, also called caribou in North America, is an animal species of large deer with circumpolar Distribution, indigenous to Arctic, subarctic, tundra, and mountain regions of north America. It includes both migratory and sedentary populations. They inhabit vast areas of coastal plain and mountainous interior areas in the southern hemisphere. They have very flexible habitat and breed on both cliffs and slopes.
Caribou are distributed into several subpopulations in nature. In southern Canada there are only two main caribou herds – the Selkirk and Kootenay. These herds tend to overlap in areas of Okanagan, British Columbia and Washington State. Caribou distribution in other regions is less clear. Some populations occur in Canadian arctic tundra and in mountains of Quebec and Ontario; some are found in mountain parks of Quebec and New Brunswick Caribou, while some herds are situated in mountainous regions in the Quebec-Labrador area.
Caribou mating patterns are seasonal. The summer months are the time when young female caribou give birth to calves. Mother caribou will give birth to young that are between one and four years old. At this time the herds become isolated and start to form clumps. As winter approaches, the clumps move even further apart, until they are in separated groups once again.
The black-necked bear Caribou is the smallest among all the caribous. It has medium-length hair and weighs about two hundred and fifty pounds. Average life expectancy of this bear is around fifteen years. The black-necked bear is the only subspecies to have a solitary life span. Other herds prefer to breed in flocks.
Fur is white with dark cloven patches on a background of grasses, bushes, and reeds. The coat varies with age. At birth the skin is soft, and fur is shiny and silky. As the animal grows, fur becomes more dense and starts to gray gradually. Fur texture also varies with age of the Caribou.
Beside the black-necked bear, the other caribous have ranges like the white-tailed deer, the fallow deer, the white-thighed bear, the fur-coated bulldog, the mountain dog, the fur-stockinged dog, and the arctic fox. In the autumn and winter, small caribou with very soft fur migrate from the tundra to the warmer areas. They give birth to teardrop-shaped droppings that look like beans.
Apart from their main source of food forest vegetation, caribou also consume berries, lichens, and phloas. During their migration, they also eat camel milk. In coastal areas they eat kelp, rock cod, and seaweed. In colder northern regions, caribou eat reindeer or caribou antlers.
Caribou usually mate for life and have a number of pups in a year. The young stay with the mother until they can fend for themselves. After about one year of age, the young calves are taken away by the mother to be fed and cared for by other relatives. The entire cycle takes about nine months.