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Banff National Park of Canada

Woodland Caribou - Recovering a Species at Risk © Parks Canada / Mark Bradley

Did you know?

Caribou and calf running, Kim Forster 
Caribou on the run
© Parks Canada / Kim Forster

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Caribou Footprint, Mark Bradley
Caribou track
© Parks Canada / Mark Bradley

 

Snowshoe, shovel and paddle ... large, crescent-shaped hooves double as snowshoes and deftly dig through crusty snow. The concave hooves also make great paddles, enabling caribou to swim with ease.


 

Tree Lichen, Jesse Whittington 
Lichen
© Parks Canada / Jesse Whittington

 

 

Part algae, part fungus ... lichens grow on the ground and in trees. They make up 60-80% of the winter diet of Alberta’s woodland caribou, and roughly 30% of their summer diet. Although lichens are a high-energy, highly digestible snack, they are not a protein powerhouse. When spring arrives, caribou are eager to switch to nitrogen-rich green vegetation.

 

 

 

  

 

Caribou trivia...

The name caribou may be a corruption of the Mi’kmaq name for the animal, xalibu, which means “the one who paws”.

 

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