Fortymile Caribou Herd

The Fortymile Caribou Herd hasn’t been seen in its past stomping grounds of the Yukon Territory for decades. Seeing them this winter in the Tombstone Territorial Park was a very encouraging news for the herd. Historically, the Fortymile Caribou Herd is most noted for its extreme decline in numbers. The estimated herd numbers declined from about 260,000 caribou in the early 1920s to 6,000 in 1973. The herd now reaches about 50,000 members again and continues to expand into the Yukon.

Here are a selection of pictures of the Fortymile Caribou Herd grazing in the Tombstone Territorial Park from this past winter:

 

Forty Mile Caribou Herd grazing in the Tombstone Territorial Park

Forty Mile Caribou Herd grazing in the Tombstone Territorial Park

 

A scenic view of Tombstone Territorial Park in winter

A scenic view of Tombstone Territorial Park in winter

 

A Barren-ground bull caribou walking ahead of the rest of the group in the subarctic tundra.

A Barren-ground bull caribou walking ahead of the rest of the group in the subarctic tundra.

 

When caribou are moving along and one is alarmed, it rears up on its hind feet, whirls about, and dashes off. When a caribou does this, scent from the interdigital gland is deposited on the ground. Every caribou that comes to the spot will sniff the scent and then became excited and alarmed.

 

Jumping caribou

Jumping caribou

 

Barren-ground Caribou from the Forty Mile Herd

Barren-ground Caribou from the Forty Mile Herd

 

Forty Mile Caribou Herd in the Tombstone mountain range

Forty Mile Caribou Herd in the Tombstone mountain range

 

Forty Mile Caribou Herd in the wide open valley of the Blackstone River

Forty Mile Caribou Herd in the wide open valley of the Blackstone River

 

A young bull caribou walking on the blue ice of a frozen lake

A young bull caribou walking on the blue ice of a frozen lake

 

Caribou in the sunset light