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The Woodland Caribou

the nature of things WITH DAVID SUZUKI The Mi'kmaq call them "xalibu", meaning "the one who paws." The caribou, emblazoned on our 25-cent piece since 1937 symbolize Canada's unspoiled wilderness. Yet today, nationally Woodland Caribou populations are threatened. THE WOODLAND CARIBOU KEYSTONE OF THE BOREAL IMPORTANCE OF WOODLAND CARIBOU Caribou are a 'keystone species'. KEYSTONE They play a critical role in maintaining the structure of the ecosystem in their habitat. Without caribou, the boreal forest would be dramatically different. PREY Caribou are a prey animal and support other species like wolves, bears, cougar and wolverine. Scavengers like ravens and eagles eat the remains. ECOLOGY Caribou are herbivores and have a big impact on plant species in the forest. Research shows they can buffer the effects of climate change on plant communities. Caribou are an integral part of Canada's First Nations communities. They are the primary source of protein and other parts of the caribou are used for clothing, tools and art. FIRST NATIONS 53% of Canada covered of world's boreal by boreal forest 25% 80% 100 90% of world's fresh water forest in Canada in Canada's boreal forest age of oldest lichen of logging in Canada's boreal forest that is clearcutting in boreal forest MULTI-TASKING HOOVES Caribou have large feet with four toes. Two are small and called 'dew claws'. The other two are large and support most of their weight and serve as shovels when digging for food under the snow. DIGGING Their large wide curved hooves keep them from sinking in snow - like snowshoes and serve as paddles when swimming. Long hair between the toes cover the soft pads forcing them to walk on the horny rim - giving them traction to outrun predators. RUNNING CARIBOU CAN RUN DEFENSE 80 sense danger, they warn the herd by rising on their hind backs of their legs, where the ankle meets the hoof. When caribou run they click. The sound comes from tendons slipping over bones in their feet. A trotting herd of caribou sounds like a horde of tourists with cameras. KM/HOUR When the legs, releasing a scent from glands located on AMAZING ANTLER FACTS The caribou belong to the deer family and are the only ungulates (hoofed grazer) with antlers on both males and females - but only the male's grow to a large size. 1 Antlers can spread 1.5m wide 2 Antlers can weigh as much as 16 kg. - 10% of a caribou's body weight! VELVET 3 Caribou start with a bare forehead every spring and grow a full set of antlers in 120 days, growing 2.5cm per day. 4 A caribou robs his When antlers are growing they are covered in "velvet"- a fine thin layer of skin filled with nerves and blood vessels that own skeleton of calcium and phosphorous in order to grow antlers so quickly - to the point that his ribs would break easily if struck in the stimulate growth. It dries and falls off, leaving the antlers bright white. summer. ISN'T A CARIBOU JUST A REINDEER? Although their similarities are numerous, the differences are enough that they're classified as 2 subspecies of the same genus (Rangifer) and species (tarandus). CARIBOU REINDEER thick coat of fine under- fur with layer of insulating hollow hair on top thicker, denser fùr than caribou 150kg wide 1.2m shorter compact body stouter • Rut late September/early October • Calves born end of May • Caribou are wild, but only in North America are they called "caribou", in Siberia they are called "wild" reindeer • Rut early-mid September • Calves born end of April • Reindeer are semi-domesticated caribou used to plull sleds and pack in Eurasia HOW CANI HELP SAVE THE CARIBOU? Woodland caribou need large tracts of dense, undisturbed old growth forest. This makes it hard for predators to find them. These forests are also rich in lịchen that caribou depend on in the winter for food. Become involved! Learn about recovery and conservation efforts and report caribou sightings to your local Ministry of Natural Resources If you camp or canoe in caribou country, * avoid setting up your camp on islands or peninsulas that may serve as caribou calving sites. If you ski or snowshoe, avoid caribou habitat altogether in winter as your tracks could lead wolves into these relatively inaccesible areas. Join or support environmental organizations that work to protect wildlife habitat 5 Recycle! Save the boreal forest by reducing your own paper and forest product consumption. © 2013. CBC Radio Canada. Associate Producer/Design: Olena Sullivan Learn more about the Woodland Caribou @ CBC.CA/NATUREOFTHINGS/ Sources: Ministry of Natural Resources, Woodland Caribou PDF; mammals/caribou.html;;; indepth/first_nations_caribou.asp; e.cfm?sid%=636; endangered_know_our_species_woodlandcaribou.asp; Images: all photos by Mark Bradley, Boreal Nature Photos,

The Woodland Caribou

shared by CBCDocs on Apr 04
THe Mi'kmaq call them "xalibu", meaning "the one who paws." The caribou, emblazoned on our 25-cent piece since 1937 symbolize Canada's unspoiled wilderness. Yet today, nationally Woodland Caribou popu...






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