The Caribou of Wabakimi - Wilderness North

Celebrating 30 Years of Wilderness North  â€“          

The Caribou of Wabakimi

At one time, woodland caribou enjoyed a broad geographic distribution throughout Northwestern Ontario and the northern United States.

Throughout most of the 20th century, caribou populations declined or were eliminated in the southern portions of their historic range in Ontario. Today they are found only in scattered herds throughout the Boreal forest and are considered a vulnerable species.
An estimated 300 woodland caribou trek the lichen-rich, granite hills of Wabakimi Provincial Park. Unlike their social, northern cousins, the barren ground caribou, these elusive woodland species seldom form large groups or herds.

Their survival strategy seems to be based on a pattern of dispersion, with individuals living and travelling alone or in small groups. Scattered about the hinterlands in such few numbers, may give each individual caribou a better chance of eluding predators, especially timber wolves, or possibly lynx and black bear.

Our guests most often observe Caribou along lake or river shorelines or when swimming across a lake. Caribou droppings are black, irregular in shape and about as wide and long as your thumb nail.

Moose droppings are brown, generally spherical in shape and about the size of your thumb. Caribou calve in the spring and early summer on islands and points on lakes, in order to avoid predators.

Avoid camping on small to medium sized islands (less than about 1 square km) until at least mid-summer, to prevent caribou cows and calves from being frightened onto the mainland.

Although elusive and seldom seen, these animals and their habitat are worthy of the highest respect.

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