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The reindeer (''Rangifer tarandus''), also known as the caribou in North America, is a species of
deer Deer or true deer are ed s forming the Cervidae. The two main groups of deer are the , including the , the (wapiti), the , and the ; and the , including the (caribou), , the , and the . Male deer of all species (except the Chinese ) as we ...

deer
with
circumpolar distribution A circumpolar distribution is any range Range may refer to: Geography * Range (geographic)A range, in geography, is a chain of hill A hill is a landform A landform is a natural or artificial feature of the solid surface of the Earth or ot ...
, native to
Arctic The Arctic ( or ) is a polar regions of Earth, polar region located at the northernmost part of Earth. The Arctic consists of the Arctic Ocean, adjacent seas, and parts of Alaska (United States), Canada, Finland, Greenland (Danish Realm, ...

Arctic
,
subarctic The sub-Arctic zone is a region in the Northern Hemisphere immediately south of the true Arctic and covering much of Alaska Alaska (; ale, Alax̂sxax̂; ; ems, Alas'kaaq; Central Alaskan Yup'ik language, Yup'ik: ''Alaskaq''; tli, An ...
, tundra, boreal, and mountainous regions of northern Europe, Siberia, and North America. This includes both sedentary and migratory populations. It is the only representative of the genus ''Rangifer''. Herd size varies greatly in different geographic regions. ''R. tarandus'' varies in size and colour from the smallest subspecies, the
Svalbard reindeer The Svalbard reindeer (''Rangifer tarandus platyrhynchus'') is a small subspecies In Taxonomy (biology), biological classification, the term subspecies refers to one of two or more populations of a species living in different subdivisions of ...

Svalbard reindeer
, to the largest, the
boreal woodland caribou The boreal woodland caribou (''Rangifer tarandus caribou''), also known as woodland caribou, boreal forest caribou and forest-dwelling caribou, is a North American subspecies of the reindeer (or the caribou in North America) with the vast majorit ...
. The North American range of caribou extends from Alaska through the
Yukon Yukon ( ; ; formerly called Yukon Territory and sometimes referred to as The Yukon) is the smallest and westernmost of Canada's three territories. It also is the least populated province or territory in Canada, with a population of 35,874 peo ...

Yukon
, the
Northwest Territories The Northwest Territories (commonly abbreviated as NT or NWT; french: Territoires du Nord-Ouest) is a federal territory A territory is an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subd ...

Northwest Territories
and
Nunavut Nunavut ( iu, ᓄᓇᕗᑦ ; ) is the largest and northernmost provinces and territories of Canada, territory of Canada. It was separated officially from the Northwest Territories on April 1, 1999, via the ''Nunavut Act'' and the ''Nunavut ...
into the
boreal forest Taiga (; rus, тайга́, p=tɐjˈɡa; relates to Mongolic languages, Mongolic and Turkic languages, Turkic languages), generally referred to in North America as a boreal forest or snow forest, is a biome characterized by pinophyta, conifero ...

boreal forest
and south through the Canadian Rockies. The
barren-ground caribou The barren-ground caribou (''Rangifer tarandus groenlandicus'') is a subspecies of the reindeer (or the caribou in North America) that is found mainly in the Canada, Canadian territories of Nunavut and the Northwest Territories, as well as in Ki ...
,
Porcupine caribou The Porcupine caribou or Grant's caribou (''Rangifer tarandus granti'') is a subspecies In Taxonomy (biology), biological classification, the term subspecies refers to one of two or more populations of a species living in different subdivisio ...
, and
Peary caribou The Peary caribou (''Rangifer tarandus pearyi'') is a subspecies In Taxonomy (biology), biological classification, the term subspecies refers to one of two or more populations of a species living in different subdivisions of the species' ra ...

Peary caribou
live in the tundra, while the shy boreal woodland caribou prefer the boreal forest. The Porcupine caribou and the barren-ground caribou form large herds and undertake lengthy seasonal migrations from birthing grounds to summer and winter feeding grounds in the tundra and taiga. The migrations of Porcupine caribou herds are among the longest of any mammal. Barren-ground caribou are also found in
Kitaa Kitaa, originally Vestgrønland ("West Greenland"), is a former administrative division (''landsdel'') of . It was by far the most populated of the divisions, being home to almost 90% of the total population. The divisions were de facto replaced ...
in
Greenland Greenland ( kl, Kalaallit Nunaat, ; da, Grønland, ) is an autonomous territory An autonomous administrative division (also referred to as an autonomous area, entity, unit, region, subdivision, or territory) is a subnational administra ...

Greenland
, but the larger herds are in Alaska, the Northwest Territories, and Nunavut. The Taimyr herd of migrating Siberian tundra reindeer (''R. t. sibiricus'') in Russia is the largest wild reindeer herd in the world, varying between 400,000 and 1,000,000. What was once the second largest herd is the migratory
boreal woodland caribou The boreal woodland caribou (''Rangifer tarandus caribou''), also known as woodland caribou, boreal forest caribou and forest-dwelling caribou, is a North American subspecies of the reindeer (or the caribou in North America) with the vast majorit ...
(''R. t. caribou'') George River herd in Canada, with former variations between 28,000 and 385,000. As of January 2018, there are fewer than 9,000 animals estimated to be left in the George River herd, as reported by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. ''The New York Times'' reported in April 2018 of the disappearance of the only herd of southern mountain woodland caribou in the contiguous United States with an expert calling it "functionally extinct" after the herd's size dwindled to a mere three animals. After the last individual, a female, was translocated to a wildlife rehabilitation centre in Canada, the woodland caribou was considered extirpated from the Lower 48. Some subspecies are rare and two have already become extinct: the
Queen Charlotte Islands caribou The Queen Charlotte Islands caribou or Dawson's caribou (''Rangifer tarandus dawsoni'') is an extinct Extinction is the termination of a kind of organism In biology, an organism (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ὀργανισμός, ''org ...
of Canada and the East Greenland caribou from East Greenland. Historically, the range of the sedentary boreal woodland caribou covered more than half of Canada and into the northern states of the
contiguous United States The contiguous United States or officially the conterminous United States, also known as the Lower 48, consists of the 48 adjoining U.S. states and the Washington, D.C., District of Columbia on the continent of North America. The terms exclude ...
woodland caribou have disappeared from most of their original southern range and were designated as threatened in 2002 by the
Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC, French: Comité sur la situation des espèces en péril au Canada, COSEPAC) is an independent committee of wildlife experts and scientists whose "raison d'être is to identify sp ...
(COSEWIC). Environment Canada reported in 2011 that there were approximately 34,000 boreal woodland caribou in 51 ranges remaining in Canada (Environment Canada, 2011b). Siberian tundra reindeer herds are also in decline, and ''Rangifer tarandus'' is considered to be vulnerable by the
IUCN The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN; officially International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources) is an international organization An international organization (also known as an international institut ...
. Arctic peoples have depended on caribou for food, clothing, and shelter, such as the
Caribou Inuit Caribou Inuit ( iu, Kivallirmiut/ᑭᕙᓪᓕᕐᒥᐅᑦ), barren-ground caribou The barren-ground caribou (''Rangifer tarandus groenlandicus'') is a subspecies of the reindeer (or the caribou in North America) that is found mainly in the Canad ...
, the inland-dwelling
Inuit Inuit (; iu, ᐃᓄᐃᑦ 'the people', singular: Inuk, , dual: Inuuk, ) are a group of culturally similar indigenous peoples Indigenous peoples, also referred to as First people, Aboriginal people, Native people, or autochthonous people, ...
of the
Kivalliq Region The Kivalliq Region (; Inuktitut syllabics: ᑭᕙᓪᓕᖅ ) is an Region, administrative List of regions of Nunavut, region of Nunavut, Canada. It consists of the portion of the mainland to the west of Hudson Bay together with Southampton Island ...
in
northern Canada Northern Canada, colloquially the North or the Territories, is the vast northernmost region of Canada variously defined by geography and politics. Politically, the term refers to the three territories of Canada The provinces and territories of ...

northern Canada
, the Caribou Clan in the Yukon, the
Iñupiat The Iñupiat (or Inupiat, Iñupiaq or Inupiaq;) are a group of Alaska Natives, whose traditional territory roughly spans northeast from Norton Sound on the Bering Sea to the northernmost part of the Canada–United States border and often claim to ...
, the
Inuvialuit The Inuvialuit (sing. Inuvialuk; ''the real people'') or Western Canadian Inuit are Inuit people who live in the western Northern Canada, Canadian Arctic region. They, like all other Inuit, are descendants of the Thule people, Thule who migrat ...
, the Hän, the
Northern Tutchone The Northern Tutchone are a First Nations The First Nations (french: Premières Nations ) are the largest group of indigenous peoples in Canada, Canadian indigenous peoples, distinct from the Inuit and Métis. Traditionally the First Nations ...
, and the Gwichʼin (who followed the Porcupine caribou for millennia). Hunting wild reindeer and herding of semi-domesticated reindeer are important to several Arctic and subarctic peoples such as the
Duhalar The Dukha, DukhansElisabetta Ragagnin (2011)Dukhan, a Turkic Variety of Northern Mongolia, Description and Analysis Harrassowitz Verlag, Wiesbaden or Duhalar ( mn, Цаатан, Tsaatan) are a small Tuvans, Tuvan (Tozhu Tuvans) Turkic peoples, Turk ...
for meat, hides, antlers, milk, and transportation."In North America and Eurasia the species has long been an important resource — in many areas ''the'' most important resource — for peoples inhabiting the northern boreal forest and tundra regions." (Banfield 1961:170; Kurtén 1968:170) The
Sámi people The Sámi people ( ; also spelled Sami or Saami) are an indigenous Indigenous may refer to: *Indigenous peoples Indigenous peoples, also referred to as First people, Aboriginal people, Native people, or autochthonous people, are culturall ...
(Sápmi) have also depended on reindeer herding and fishing for centuries. In
Sápmi (, smj, Sábme / Sámeednam, sma, Saepmie, sju, Sábmie, , , Kildin Sami: Соаме ''Soame'') is the cultural area, cultural region traditionally inhabited by the Sámi people. Sápmi is in Northern Europe and includes the northern part ...
, reindeer are used to pull a
pulk A pulk (from fi, pulkka; sv, pulka; no, pulk; se, bulki) is a Nordic Nordic most commonly refers to: * Nordic countries, written in plural as Nordics, the northwestern European countries, including Scandinavia, Fennoscandia and the List o ...
, a Nordic sled. Male ("bulls") and female ("cows") reindeer can grow antlers annually, although the proportion of females that grow antlers varies greatly between population and season. Antlers are typically larger on males. In traditional United States
Christmas Christmas is an annual festival commemorating Nativity of Jesus, the birth of Jesus Christ, observed primarily on December 25 as a religious and cultural celebration among billions of people Observance of Christmas by country, around the world ...

Christmas
legend,
Santa Claus's reindeer In traditional festive legend and popular culture, Santa Claus's reindeer are said to pull a Sled, sleigh through the night sky to help Santa Claus deliver gifts to children on Christmas Eve. The number of reindeer characters, and the names g ...
pull a sleigh through the night sky to help Santa Claus deliver gifts to good children on Christmas Eve.


Naming

Carl Linnaeus Carl Linnaeus (; 23 May 1707 – 10 January 1778), also known after his ennoblement Ennoblement is the conferring of nobility—the induction of an individual into the noble social class, class. Currently only a few kingdoms still grant nob ...

Carl Linnaeus
chose the name ''Rangifer'' for the reindeer genus, which
Albertus Magnus Albertus Magnus (c. 1200 – November 15, 1280), also known as Saint Albert the Great or Albert of Cologne, was a German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany ...

Albertus Magnus
used in his ''De animalibus'', fol. Liber 22, Cap. 268: "Dicitur Rangyfer quasi ramifer". This word may go back to the
Saami The Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers' Institute (SAAMI, pronounced "Sammy") is an association of United States, American Manufacturing, manufacturers of firearms, ammunition, and components. SAAMI is an accredited Standards organizatio ...

Saami
word ''raingo''. Linnaeus chose the word ''tarandus'' as the specific epithet, making reference to
Ulisse Aldrovandi Ulisse Aldrovandi (11 September 1522 – 4 May 1605) was an Italy, Italian natural history, naturalist, the moving force behind Orto Botanico dell'Università di Bologna, Bologna's botanical garden, one of the first in Europe. Carl Linnaeus and t ...
's ''Quadrupedum omnium bisulcorum historia'' fol. 859–863, Cap. 30: De Tarando (1621). However, Aldrovandi and Konrad Gesner thought that ''rangifer'' and ''tarandus'' were two separate animals. In any case, the ''tarandos'' name goes back to
Aristotle Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questio ...

Aristotle
and
Theophrastus Theophrastus (; grc-gre, Θεόφραστος ; c. 371c. 287 BC), a Greek native of Eresos Eresos (; el, Ερεσός; grc, Ἔρεσος) and its twin beach village Skala Eresou are located in the southwest part of the Greek island of Le ...

Theophrastus
. The use of the terms ''reindeer'' and ''caribou'' for essentially the same animal can cause confusion, but the
International Union for Conservation of Nature The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN; officially International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources) is an international organization An international organization (also known as an international institut ...
clearly delineates the issue: "The world's Caribou and Reindeer are classified as a single species ''Rangifer tarandus''. Reindeer is the European name for the species while in North America, the species is known as Caribou." The word ''rein'' is of Norse origin. The word ''deer'' was originally broader in meaning, but became more specific over time. In Middle English, ''der'' meant a wild animal of any kind, in contrast to ''cattle''. The word ''caribou'' comes through French, from the Mi'kmaq ''qalipu'', meaning "snow shoveler" and referring to its habit of pawing through the snow for food. Because of its importance to many cultures, ''Rangifer tarandus'' and some of its subspecies have names in many languages.
Inuktitut Inuktitut (; , Inuktitut syllabics, syllabics ; from , "person" + , "like", "in the manner of"), also Eastern Canadian Inuktitut, is one of the principal Inuit languages of Canada. It is spoken in all areas north of the tree line, including part ...

Inuktitut
is spoken in the eastern Canadian Arctic, and the caribou is known by the name ''tuktu''. The Gwich’in people have over 24 distinct caribou-related words.


Taxonomy and evolution

The species' taxonomic name, ''Rangifer tarandus'', was defined by
Carl Linnaeus Carl Linnaeus (; 23 May 1707 – 10 January 1778), also known after his ennoblement Ennoblement is the conferring of nobility—the induction of an individual into the noble social class, class. Currently only a few kingdoms still grant nob ...

Carl Linnaeus
in 1758. The woodland caribou subspecies' taxonomic name ''Rangifer tarandus caribou'' was defined by in 1788. Based on Banfield's often-cited ''A Revision of the Reindeer and Caribou, Genus Rangifer'' (1961), ''R. t. caboti'' (the
Labrador , nickname = "The Big Land" , etymology = , subdivision_type = Country , subdivision_name = Canada , subdivision_type1 = Provinces and territories of ...

Labrador
caribou), ''R. t. osborni'' (Osborn's caribou—from
British Columbia ( en, Splendour without diminishment) , image_map = British Columbia in Canada 2.svg , Label_map = yes , coordinates = , official_lang = None , Slogan = Beautiful British C ...

British Columbia
) and ''R. t. terraenovae'' (the
Newfoundland Newfoundland and Labrador (, ) is the easternmost provinces and territories of Canada, province of Canada, in the country's Atlantic Canada, Atlantic region. It is composed of the island of Newfoundland (island), Newfoundland and the continental ...
caribou) were considered invalid and included in ''R. t. caribou''. Some recent authorities have considered them all valid, even suggesting that they are quite distinct. In his chapter in the book entitled ''Mammal Species of the World'', English zoologist
Peter GrubbPeter Grubb may refer to: *Peter Grubb (mason) (1702–1754), American mason and founder of Grubb Family Iron Dynasty *Peter Grubb, Jr. (1740–1786), American patriot and member of Grubb Family Iron Dynasty *Peter J. Grubb (born 1935), English ecol ...
agrees with
Valerius Geist Valerius Geist (born February 2, 1938) is a Canadian biologist and a professor emeritus ''Emeritus'' (; female: ''Emerita''), in its current usage, is an adjective used to designate a retired chair, professor, pastor, bishop, pope, director, pre ...

Valerius Geist
, specialist on large North American mammals, that this range actually includes several
subspecies In biological classification In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interacti ...
.The
Integrated Taxonomic Information System The Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) is an American partnership of federal agencies designed to provide consistent and reliable information on the taxonomy of biological species In biology, a species is the basic unit of bio ...
list Wilson and Geist on their experts panel.
Geist (2007) argued that the "true woodland caribou, the uniformly dark, small-maned type with the frontally emphasised, flat-beamed antlers", which is "scattered thinly along the southern rim of North American caribou distribution" has been incorrectly classified. He affirms that the "true woodland caribou is very rare, in very great difficulties and requires the most urgent of attention." In 2005, an analysis of
mtDNA Illustration of the location of mitochondrial DNA in human cells Electron microscopy reveals mitochondrial DNA in discrete foci. Bars: 200 nm. (A) Cytoplasmic section after immunogold labelling with anti-DNA; gold particles marking mtDNA are ...

mtDNA
found differences between the caribou from Newfoundland, Labrador, southwestern Canada, and southeastern Canada, but maintained all in ''R. t. caribou''. Mallory and Hillis argued that "Although the taxonomic designations reflect evolutionary events, they do not appear to reflect current ecological conditions. In numerous instances, populations of the same subspecies have evolved different demographic and behavioural adaptations, while populations from separate subspecies have evolved similar demographic and behavioural patterns... " derstanding ecotype in relation to existing ecological constraints and releases may be more important than the taxonomic relationships between populations." Current classifications of ''Rangifer tarandus'', either with prevailing taxonomy on subspecies, designations based on ecotypes, or natural population groupings, fail to capture "the variability of caribou across their range in Canada" needed for effective species conservation and management.
COSEWICThe Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC, French: Comité sur la situation des espèces en péril au Canada, COSEPAC) is an independent committee of wildlife experts and scientists whose "raison d'être is to identify spe ...
, p. 3
"Across the range of a species, individuals may display considerable morphological, genetic, and behavioural variability reflective of both plasticity and adaptation to local environments." COSEWIC developed Designated Unit (DU) attribution to add to classifications already in use.


Subspecies

The canonical ''
Mammal Species of the World ''Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference'' is a standard reference work in mammalogy In zoology, mammalogy is the study of mammals – a Class (biology), class of vertebrates with characteristics such as Homeothermy, ho ...
'' (3rd ed.) recognises 14 subspecies, two of which are extinct. The table above includes ''R. t. caboti'' (the Labrador caribou), ''R. t. osborni'' (Osborn's caribou – from British Columbia) and ''R. t. terraenovae'' (the Newfoundland caribou). Based on a review in 1961, these were considered invalid and included in ''R. t. caribou'', but some recent authorities have considered them all valid, even suggesting that they are quite distinct. An analysis of
mtDNA Illustration of the location of mitochondrial DNA in human cells Electron microscopy reveals mitochondrial DNA in discrete foci. Bars: 200 nm. (A) Cytoplasmic section after immunogold labelling with anti-DNA; gold particles marking mtDNA are ...

mtDNA
in 2005 found differences between the caribou from Newfoundland, Labrador, southwestern Canada and southeastern Canada, but maintained all in ''R. t. caribou''. There are seven subspecies of reindeer in Eurasia, of which only two are found in Fennoscandia: the mountain reindeer (''R. t. tarandus'') in Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Russia and the Finnish forest reindeer (''R. t. fennicus'') in Finland and Russia. Two subspecies are found only in North America: the Porcupine caribou (''R. t. granti'') and the Peary caribou (''R. t. pearyi''). The barren-ground caribou (''R. t. groenlandicus'') is found in western Greenland, but the larger herds are in Alaska, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. According to Grubb, based on Banfield and considerably modified by Geist, these subspecies and divisions are considered valid: the ''caribou'' or woodland caribou division, which includes ''R. t. buskensis'', ''R. t. caribou'', ''R. t. dawsoni'', ''R. t. fennicus'', ''R. t. phylarchus'' and ''R. t. valentinae'' (''R. t. osborni'' is a transitional subspecies between the ''caribou'' and ''tarandus'' divisions), the ''tarandus'' or tundra reindeer division, which includes ''R. t. caboti'', ''R. t. groenlandicus'', ''R. t. pearsoni'', ''R. t. sibiricus'' and ''R. t. terraenovae'' and the ''platyrhynchus'' or dwarf reindeer division, which includes ''R. t. pearyi'' and ''R. t. platyrhynchus''. Some of the ''Rangifer tarandus'' subspecies may be further divided by
ecotype Image:Ecotypes of Physcomitrella patens.JPG, 224x224px, Four different ecotypes of ''Physcomitrella patens'', stored at the International Moss Stock Center In evolutionary ecology, an ecotype,Greek: ''οίκος'' = home and ''τύπος'' = type ...
depending on several behavioural factors – predominant habitat use (northern, tundra, mountain, forest, boreal forest, forest-dwelling, woodland, woodland (boreal), woodland (migratory) or woodland (mountain), spacing (dispersed or aggregated) and migration patterns (sedentary or migratory). The "glacial-interglacial cycles of the upper Pleistocene had a major influence on the evolution" of ''Rangifer tarandus'' and other Arctic and subarctic species. Isolation of ''Rangifer tarandus'' in refugia during the last glacial – the Wisconsin in North America and the Weichselian in Eurasia-shaped "intraspecific genetic variability" particularly between the North American and Eurasian parts of the Arctic. In 1986, Kurtén reported that the oldest reindeer fossil was an "antler of tundra reindeer type from the sands of Süssenborn" in the
Pleistocene The Pleistocene ( , often referred to as the ''Ice Age'') is the geological Epoch (geology), epoch that lasted from about 2,580,000 to 11,700 years ago, spanning the earth’s most recent period of repeated glaciations. Before a change finally ...
( Günz) period (680,000 to 620,000 BP). By the 4-Würm period (110,000–70,000 to 12,000–10,000 BP) its European range was very extensive. Reindeer occurred in "In spite of the great variation, all the Pleistocene and living reindeer belong to the same species." Humans started hunting reindeer in the
Mesolithic The Mesolithic (Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is appro ...

Mesolithic
and
Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age The Stone Age was a broad prehistoric Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, also known as world history, is t ...
periods and humans are today the main predator in many areas. Norway and Greenland have unbroken traditions of hunting wild reindeer from the last glacial period until the present day. In the non-forested mountains of central
Norway Norway, officially the Kingdom of Norway,Names in the official and recognised languages: Bokmål Bokmål (, ; literally "book tongue") is an official written standard for the Norwegian language Norwegian (Norwegian: ''norsk'') is a Nort ...

Norway
, such as
Jotunheimen Jotunheimen (, ''the home of the Jötunn'') is a mountainous area of roughly 3,500 km² in southern Norway and is part of the long range known as the Scandinavian Mountains. The 29 highest mountains in Norway are all in Jotunheimen, includin ...

Jotunheimen
, it is still possible to find remains of stone-built
trapping pit Trapping pits are deep pits dug into the ground, or built from stone, in order to trap animals. European rock drawings and cave paintings reveal that red deer (''Cervus elaphus'') and elk/moose (''Alces alces'') were hunted since the Stone Age ...
s, guiding fences and bow rests, built especially for hunting reindeer. These can, with some certainty, be dated to the
Migration Period The Migration Period, also known as the Barbarian Invasions (from the Roman and Greek perspective), is a term sometimes used for the period in the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the ...
, although it is not unlikely that they have been in use since the
Stone Age The Stone Age was a broad prehistoric Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, also known as world history, is the description of humanity's past. It is informed by archaeology ...

Stone Age
.


Physical characteristics


Antlers

In most
cervid Deer or true deer are hoof Cloven hooves of roe deer (''Capreolus capreolus''), with prominent dewclaws A hoof ( or ), plural hooves ( or ) or hoofs , is the tip of a toe of an ungulate mammal Mammals (from Latin language, Latin , ...

cervid
species, only males grow
antler Antlers are extensions of an animal's skull found in members of the deer Deer or true deer are ed s forming the Cervidae. The two main groups of deer are the , including the , the (wapiti), the , and the ; and the , including the ( ...

antler
s; the reindeer is the only cervid species in which females also grow them normally.New World Deer (Capriolinae).
Answers.com
Androgens An androgen (from Greek ''andr-'', the stem of the word meaning "man") is any natural or synthetic steroid hormone A steroid hormone is a steroid , hypothetical a steroid with 32 carbon atoms. Its core ring system (ABCD), composed of 17 c ...
play an essential role in the antler formation of cervids. The antlerogenic genes in reindeer have more sensitivity to androgens in comparison with other cervids. There is considerable variation between subspecies in the size of the antlers (e.g., they are rather small and spindly in the northernmost subspecies), but on average the bull's antlers are the second largest of any extant deer, after those of the male
moose The moose (in North America) or elk (in Eurasia) (''Alces alces'') is a member of the New World deer subfamily and is the largest and heaviest extant Extant is the opposite of the word extinct Extinction is the termination of a kind of ...

moose
. In the largest subspecies, the antlers of large bulls can range up to in width and in beam length. They have the largest antlers relative to body size among living deer species. Antler size measured in number of points reflects the nutritional status of the reindeer and climate variation of its environment. The number of points on male reindeer increases from birth to five years of age and remains relatively constant from then on. "In male caribou, antler mass (but not the number of tines) varies in concert with body mass." While antlers of male woodland caribou are typically smaller than those of male barren-ground caribou, they can be over across. They are flattened, compact and relatively dense. Geist describes them as frontally emphasised, flat-beamed antlers. Woodland caribou antlers are thicker and broader than those of the barren-ground caribou and their legs and heads are longer. Quebec-Labrador male caribou antlers can be significantly larger and wider than other woodland caribou. Central barren-ground male caribou antlers are perhaps the most diverse in configuration and can grow to be very high and wide. Mountain caribou antlers are typically the most massive, with the largest circumference measurements. The antlers' main beams begin at the brow "extending posterior over the shoulders and bowing so that the tips point forward. The prominent, palmate brow tines extend forward, over the face." The antlers typically have two separate groups of points, lower and upper. Antlers begin to grow on male reindeer in March or April and on female reindeer in May or June. This process is called antlerogenesis. Antlers grow very quickly every year on the bulls. As the antlers grow, they are covered in thick
velvet Velvet is a type of woven tufted textile, fabric in which the cut yarn, threads are evenly distributed, with a short dense pile (textile), pile, giving it a distinctive soft feel. By extension, the word ''velvety'' means "smooth like velvet". I ...
, filled with blood vessels and spongy in texture. The antler velvet of the barren-ground caribou and the
boreal woodland caribou The boreal woodland caribou (''Rangifer tarandus caribou''), also known as woodland caribou, boreal forest caribou and forest-dwelling caribou, is a North American subspecies of the reindeer (or the caribou in North America) with the vast majorit ...
is dark chocolate brown. The velvet that covers growing antlers is a highly vascularised skin. This velvet is dark brown on woodland or barren-ground caribou and slate-grey on Peary caribou and the
Dolphin-Union caribou Dolphin and Union Caribou, Dolphin and Union caribou herd, Dolphin-Union, locally known as Island Caribou, are a migratory population of barren-ground caribou The barren-ground caribou (''Rangifer tarandus groenlandicus'') is a subspecies of t ...
herd. Velvet lumps in March can develop into a rack measuring more than a metre in length by August. When the antler growth is fully grown and hardened, the velvet is shed or rubbed off. To the
Inuit Inuit (; iu, ᐃᓄᐃᑦ 'the people', singular: Inuk, , dual: Inuuk, ) are a group of culturally similar indigenous peoples Indigenous peoples, also referred to as First people, Aboriginal people, Native people, or autochthonous people, ...
, for whom the caribou is a "culturally important
keystone species A keystone species is a species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A species is often defined as the largest group o ...
", the months are named after landmarks in the caribou life cycle. For example, ''amiraijaut'' in the
Igloolik Igloolik (Inuktitut syllabics: ᐃᒡᓗᓕᒃ, ''Iglulik'', ) is an Inuit hamlet in Foxe Basin, Qikiqtaaluk Region in Nunavut, northern Canada. Because its location on Igloolik Island is close to Melville Peninsula, it is often mistakenly thought ...

Igloolik
region is "when velvet falls off caribou antlers." Male reindeer use their antlers to compete with other males during the mating season. In describing woodland caribou, SARA wrote, "During the rut, males engage in frequent and furious sparring battles with their antlers. Large males with large antlers do most of the mating." Reindeer continue to migrate until the bulls have spent their back fat. In late autumn or early winter after the rut, male reindeer lose their antlers, growing a new pair the next summer with a larger rack than the previous year. Female reindeer keep their antlers until they calve. In the Scandinavian and Arctic Circle populations, old bulls' antlers fall off in late December, young bulls' antlers fall off in the early spring, and cows' antlers fall off in the summer. When male reindeer shed their antlers in early to midwinter, the antlered cows acquire the highest ranks in the feeding hierarchy, gaining access to the best forage areas. These cows are healthier than those without antlers. Calves whose mothers do not have antlers are more prone to disease and have a significantly higher mortality. Cows in good nutritional condition, for example, during a mild winter with good winter range quality, may grow new antlers earlier as antler growth requires high intake. According to a respected
Igloolik Igloolik (Inuktitut syllabics: ᐃᒡᓗᓕᒃ, ''Iglulik'', ) is an Inuit hamlet in Foxe Basin, Qikiqtaaluk Region in Nunavut, northern Canada. Because its location on Igloolik Island is close to Melville Peninsula, it is often mistakenly thought ...

Igloolik
elder, Noah Piugaattuk, who was one of the last outpost camp leaders, caribou (''tuktu'') antlers According to the ''Igloolik Oral History Project'' (IOHP), "Caribou antlers provided the Inuit with a myriad of implements, from snow knives and shovels to drying racks and seal-hunting tools. A complex set of terms describes each part of the antler and relates it to its various uses". Currently, the larger racks of antlers are used by Inuit as materials for carving. Iqaluit-based Jackoposie Oopakak's 1989 carving, entitled ''Nunali'', which means ""place where people live", and which is part of the permanent collection of the
National Gallery of Canada The National Gallery of Canada (french: Musée des beaux-arts du Canada), located in the capital city of Ottawa, Ontario, is Canada's National museums of Canada, national art museum. The museum's building takes up , with of space used for exhibiti ...

National Gallery of Canada
, includes a massive set of caribou antlers on which he has intricately carved the miniaturised world of the Inuit where "Arctic birds, caribou, polar bears, seals, and whales are interspersed with human activities of fishing, hunting, cleaning skins, stretching boots, and travelling by dog sled and kayak...from the base of the antlers to the tip of each branch".


Pelt

The colour of the
fur Fur is a thick growth of hair Hair is a protein filament In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular bi ...

fur
varies considerably, both between individuals and depending on season and subspecies. Northern populations, which usually are relatively small, are whiter, while southern populations, which typically are relatively large, are darker. This can be seen well in North America, where the northernmost subspecies, the
Peary caribou The Peary caribou (''Rangifer tarandus pearyi'') is a subspecies In Taxonomy (biology), biological classification, the term subspecies refers to one of two or more populations of a species living in different subdivisions of the species' ra ...

Peary caribou
, is the whitest and smallest subspecies of the continent, while the southernmost subspecies, the
boreal woodland caribou The boreal woodland caribou (''Rangifer tarandus caribou''), also known as woodland caribou, boreal forest caribou and forest-dwelling caribou, is a North American subspecies of the reindeer (or the caribou in North America) with the vast majorit ...
, is the darkest and largest.Reid, F. (2006). ''Mammals of North America.'' Peterson Field Guides. The
coat A coat typically is an outer garment Clothing (also known as clothes, apparel, and attire) are items worn on the body. Typically, clothing is made of fabrics or textile A textile is a flexible material made by creating an inter ...
has two layers of fur: a dense
wool Wool is the textile A textile is a flexible material made by creating an interlocking bundle of yarn Yarn is a long continuous length of interlocked fibres, suitable for use in the production of textiles, sewing, crocheting, knitt ...
ly undercoat and longer-haired overcoat consisting of hollow, air-filled hairs.According to Inuit elder Marie Kilunik of the
AivilingmiutImage:Awilingment woman.jpg, Aivilingmiut woman, Repulse Bay, 1926 The Aivilingmiut (or Aivilik) are an Inuit people who traditionally have resided north of Hudson Bay in Canada, near Naujaat (Repulse Bay), Chesterfield Inlet, Southampton Island, and ...
, Canadian Inuit preferred the caribou skins from caribou taken in the late summer or fall, when their coats had thickened. They used it for winter clothing "because each hair is hollow and fills with air trapping heat."(Marie Kilunik, Aivilingmiut, Crnkovich 1990:116).
Fur is the primary insulation factor that allows reindeer to regulate their
core body temperature Normal human body-temperature (normothermia, euthermia) is the typical temperature range found in humans. The normal human body temperature range is typically stated as . Human body temperature varies. It depends on gender, age, time of day, exe ...
in relation to their environment, the thermogradient, even if the temperature rises to . In 1913, Dugmore noted how the woodland caribou swim so high out of the water, unlike any other mammal, because their hollow, "air-filled, quill-like hair" acts as a supporting "life jacket." A darker belly colour may be caused by two mutations of
MC1R The melanocortin 1 receptor (MC1R), also known as melanocyte-stimulating hormone receptor (MSHR), melanin-activating peptide receptor, or melanotropin receptor, is a G protein–coupled receptor that binds to a class of pituitary peptide hormones k ...
. They appear to be more common in domestic reindeer herds.


Heat exchange

Blood moving into the legs is cooled by blood returning to the body in a (CCHE), a highly efficient means of minimising heat loss through the skin's surface. In the CCHE mechanism, in cold weather, blood vessels are closely knotted and intertwined with arteries to the skin and appendages that carry warm blood with veins returning to the body that carry cold blood causing the warm arterial blood to exchange heat with the cold venous blood. In this way, their legs for example are kept cool, maintaining the core body temperature nearly higher with less heat lost to the environment. Heat is thus recycled instead of being dissipated. The "heart does not have to pump blood as rapidly in order to maintain a constant body core temperature and thus, metabolic rate." CCHE is present in animals like reindeer, fox and moose living in extreme conditions of cold or hot weather as a mechanism for retaining the heat in (or out of) the body. These are countercurrent exchange systems with the same fluid, usually blood, in a circuit, used for both directions of flow. Reindeer have specialised counter-current vascular heat exchange in their nasal passages. Temperature gradient along the nasal
mucosa A mucous membrane or mucosa is a membrane Image:Schematic size.jpg, up150px, Schematic of size-based membrane exclusion A membrane is a selective barrier; it allows some things to pass through but stops others. Such things may be molecules, ions ...
is under physiological control. Incoming cold air is warmed by
body heat ''Body Heat'' is a 1981 American neo-noir erotic thriller film written and directed by Lawrence Kasdan in his directorial debut. It stars William Hurt, Kathleen Turner, and Richard Crenna, and features Ted Danson, J. A. Preston, and Mickey ...
before entering the lungs and water is condensed from the expired air and captured before the reindeer's breath is exhaled, then used to moisten dry incoming air and possibly be absorbed into the blood through the
mucous membrane A mucous membrane or mucosa is a biological membrane, membrane that lines various cavities in the body and covers the surface of internal organs. It consists of one or more layers of Epithelium, epithelial cells overlying a layer of loose connect ...
s. Like
moose The moose (in North America) or elk (in Eurasia) (''Alces alces'') is a member of the New World deer subfamily and is the largest and heaviest extant Extant is the opposite of the word extinct Extinction is the termination of a kind of ...

moose
, caribou have specialised noses featuring nasal
turbinate bone In anatomy, a nasal concha (), plural conchae (), also called a nasal turbinate or turbinal, is a long, narrow, curled shelf of bone tissue, bone that protrudes into the breathing passage of the nose in humans and various animals. The conchae are ...
s that dramatically increase the surface area within the
nostril A nostril (or naris , plural ''nares'' ) is either of the two orifices of the nose A nose is a protuberance in vertebrates that houses the nostrils, or nares, which receive and expel air for Respiration (physiology), respiration alongside ...
s.


Hooves

The reindeer has large feet with crescent-shaped, cloven hooves for walking in snow or swamps. According to the Species at Risk Public Registry ( SARA), woodland Reindeer
hooves Cloven hooves of roe deer (''Capreolus capreolus''), with prominent dewclaws A hoof ( or ), plural hooves ( or ) or hoofs , is the tip of a toe Toes are the digits (fingers) of the foot of a tetrapod. Animal Animals (also called M ...
adapt to the season: in the summer, when the tundra is soft and wet, the footpads become sponge-like and provide extra traction. In the winter, the pads shrink and tighten, exposing the rim of the hoof, which cuts into the ice and crusted snow to keep it from slipping. This also enables them to dig down (an activity known as "cratering") through the snow to their favourite food, a
lichen A lichen ( , ) is a composite organism In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecu ...

lichen
known as reindeer lichen (''
Cladonia rangiferina ''Cladonia rangiferina'', also known as reindeer cup lichen, reindeer lichen (cf. Swedish language, Sw. ''renlav'') or grey reindeer lichen, is a light-colored fruticose lichen, fruticose, Cladonia, cup lichen species in the family Cladoniaceae. ...

Cladonia rangiferina
'')."In the winter, the fleshy pads on these toes grow longer and form a tough, hornlike rim. Caribou use these large, sharp-edged hooves to dig through the snow and uncover the lichens that sustain them in winter months. Biologists call this activity "cratering" because of the crater-like cavity the caribou’s hooves leave in the snow
All About Caribou
– Project Caribou

. Arcticphoto.co.uk. Retrieved on 16 September 2011.


Size

The females (or "cows" as they are often called) usually measure in length and weigh .Caribou at the Alaska Department of Fish & Game
. Adfg.state.ak.us. Retrieved on 16 September 2011.
The males (or "bulls" as they are often called) are typically larger (to an extent which varies between the different subspecies), measuring in length and usually weighing . Exceptionally large bulls have weighed as much as . Weight varies drastically between the seasons, with bulls losing as much as 40% of their pre-rut weight. The shoulder height is usually , and the tail is long. The reindeer from Svalbard are the smallest. They are also relatively short-legged and may have a shoulder height of as little as , thereby following
Allen's rule Allen's rule is an ecogeographical rule formulated by Joel Asaph Allen in 1877, broadly stating that animals adapted to cold climates have shorter limbs and bodily appendages than animals adapted to warm climates. More specifically, it states that ...
.


Clicking sound

The knees of many subspecies of reindeer are adapted to produce a clicking sound as they walk.Banfield AWF (1966) "The caribou", pp. 25–28 in ''The Unbelievable Land''. Smith I.N. (ed.) Ottawa: Queen's Press, cited in The sounds originate in the tendons of the knees and may be audible from several hundred metres away. The frequency of the knee-clicks is one of a range of signals that establish relative positions on a dominance scale among reindeer. "Specifically, loud knee-clicking is discovered to be an honest signal of body size, providing an exceptional example of the potential for non-vocal acoustic communication in mammals." The clicking sound made by reindeer as they walk is caused by small tendons slipping over bone protuberances (sesamoid bones) in their feet. The sound is made when a reindeer is walking or running, occurring when the full weight of the foot is on the ground or just after it is relieved of the weight.


Eyes

A study by researchers from
University College London University College London, which Trade name, operates as UCL, is a major public university , public research university located in London, United Kingdom. UCL is a Member institutions of the University of London, member institution of the Federa ...
in 2011 revealed that reindeer can see light with wavelengths as short as 320 nm (i.e. in the ultraviolet range), considerably below the human threshold of 400 nm. It is thought that this ability helps them to survive in the Arctic, because many objects that blend into the landscape in light visible to humans, such as urine and fur, produce sharp contrasts in ultraviolet.Reindeer use UV light to survive in the wild
. Ucl.ac.uk (26 May 2011). Retrieved on 16 September 2011.
The
tapetum lucidum The ''tapetum lucidum'' (; from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the ...
of Arctic reindeer eyes changes in colour from gold in summer to blue in winter to improve their vision during times of continuous darkness, and perhaps enable them to better spot predators.


Biology and behaviours


Seasonal body composition

Reindeer have developed adaptations for optimal metabolic efficiency during warm months as well as for during cold months. The body composition of reindeer varies highly with the seasons. Of particular interest is the body composition and diet of breeding and non-breeding females between the seasons. Breeding females have more body mass than non-breeding females between the months of March and September with a difference of around more than non-breeding females. From November to December, non-breeding females have more body mass than breeding females, as non-breeding females are able to focus their energies towards storage during colder months rather than lactation and reproduction. Body masses of both breeding and non-breeding females peaks in September. During the months of March through April, breeding females have more fat mass than the non-breeding females with a difference of almost . After this, however, non-breeding females on average have a higher body fat mass than do breeding females. The environmental variations play a large part in reindeer nutrition, as winter nutrition is crucial to adult and neonatal survival rates. Lichens are a staple during the winter months as they are a readily available food source, which reduces the reliance on stored body reserves. Lichens are a crucial part of the reindeer diet; however, they are less prevalent in the diet of pregnant reindeer compared to non-pregnant individuals. The amount of lichen in a diet is found more in non-pregnant adult diets than pregnant individuals due to the lack of nutritional value. Although lichens are high in carbohydrates, they are lacking in essential proteins that vascular plants provide. The amount of lichen in a diet decreases in latitude, which results in nutritional stress being higher in areas with low lichen abundance.


Reproduction and life cycle

Reindeer mate in late September to early November and the gestation period is about 228–234 days. During the mating season, bulls battle for access to cows. Two bulls will lock each other's antlers together and try to push each other away. The most dominant bulls can collect as many as 15–20 cows to mate with. A bull will stop eating during this time and lose much of his body fat reserves. To calve, "females travel to isolated, relatively predator-free areas such as islands in lakes, peatlands, lake-shores, or tundra." As females select the habitat for the birth of their calves, they are warier than males. Dugmore noted that, in their seasonal migrations, the herd follows a female for that reason. Newborns weigh on average . In May or June, the calves are born. After 45 days, the calves are able to graze and forage, but continue suckling until the following autumn when they become independent from their mothers. Bulls live four years less than the cows, whose maximum longevity is about 17 years. Cows with a normal body size and who have had sufficient summer nutrition can begin breeding anytime between the ages of 1 to 3 years. When a cow has undergone nutritional stress, it is possible for her to not reproduce for the year. Dominant bulls, those with larger body size and antler racks, inseminate more than one cow a season.


Social structure, migration and range

Some populations of North American caribou, for example many herds in the barren-ground caribou subspecies and some woodland caribou in Ungava and
Labrador , nickname = "The Big Land" , etymology = , subdivision_type = Country , subdivision_name = Canada , subdivision_type1 = Provinces and territories of ...

Labrador
,
migrate Migration, migratory, or migrate may refer to: Human migration * Human migration, physical movement by humans from one region to another ** International migration, when peoples cross state boundaries and stay in the host state for some minimum len ...
the farthest of any terrestrial mammal, travelling up to a year, and covering . Other North American populations, the boreal woodland caribou for example, are largely sedentary. The European populations are known to have shorter migrations. Island herds, such as the subspecies ''R. t. pearsoni'' and ''R. t. platyrhynchus'', make local movements. Migrating reindeer can be negatively affected by parasite loads. Severely infected individuals are weak and probably have shortened lifespans, but parasite levels vary between populations. Infections create an effect known as
culling In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interactions, Physiology, physiological mechan ...
: infected migrating animals are less likely to complete the migration. Normally travelling about a day while migrating, the caribou can run at speeds of . Young calves can already outrun an Olympic sprinter when only 1 day old. During the spring migration, smaller herds will group together to form larger herds of 50,000 to 500,000 animals, but during autumn migrations, the groups become smaller and the reindeer begin to mate. During winter, reindeer travel to forested areas to forage under the snow. By spring, groups leave their winter grounds to go to the calving grounds. A reindeer can swim easily and quickly, normally at about but, if necessary, at and migrating herds will not hesitate to swim across a large lake or broad river. As an adaptation to their Arctic environment, they have lost their
circadian rhythm A circadian rhythm (), or circadian cycle, is a natural, internal process that regulates the sleep–wake cycle and repeats roughly every 24 hours. It can refer to any process that originates within an organism (i.e., endogenous Endogenous subst ...

circadian rhythm
.


Ecology


Distribution and habitat

Originally, the reindeer was found in
Scandinavia Scandinavia; Sami Places * Sápmi, a cultural region in Northern Europe * Sami, Burkina Faso, a district of the Banwa Province * Sami District, Gambia * Sami, Cephalonia, a municipality in Greece * Sami (ancient city), in Elis, Greece * Sa ...

Scandinavia
, eastern Europe,
Greenland Greenland ( kl, Kalaallit Nunaat, ; da, Grønland, ) is an autonomous territory An autonomous administrative division (also referred to as an autonomous area, entity, unit, region, subdivision, or territory) is a subnational administra ...

Greenland
, Russia,
Mongolia Mongolia (, mn, Монгол Улс, Mongol Uls, Mongolian script, Traditional Mongolian: '; literal translation, lit. "Mongol Nation" or "State of Mongolia") is a landlocked country in East Asia. It is bordered by Russia Mongolia–Russia ...

Mongolia
and northern China north of the 50th latitude. In North America, it was found in Canada,
Alaska Alaska (; ale, Alax̂sxax̂; ; ems, Alas'kaaq; Central Alaskan Yup'ik language, Yup'ik: ''Alaskaq''; tli, Anáaski) is a U.S. state in the Western United States, on the northwest extremity of the country's West Coast of the United State ...

Alaska
, and the northern conterminous United States from
Washington Washington commonly refers to: * Washington (state), United States * Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States ** Federal government of the United States (metonym) ** Washington metropolitan area, the metropolitan area centered on Washingt ...
to
Maine Maine () is a U.S. state, state in the New England region of the United States, bordered by New Hampshire to the west; the Gulf of Maine to the southeast; and the Provinces and territories of Canada, Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Qu ...

Maine
. In the 19th century, it apparently was still present in southern
Idaho Idaho () is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in ...

Idaho
. Even in historical times, it probably occurred naturally in
Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel (Great Britain and Ireland), North Channel, the Irish Sea ...

Ireland
, and it is believed to have lived in
Scotland Scotland ( sco, Scotland, gd, Alba Alba (Scottish Gaelic Scottish Gaelic ( gd, Gàidhlig or Scots Gaelic, sometimes referred to simply as Gaelic) is a Goidelic language (in the Celtic languages, Celtic branch of the Indo-European ...

Scotland
until the 12th century, when the last reindeer were hunted in
Orkney Orkney (; sco, Orkney; on, Orkneyjar; nrn, Orknøjar), also known as the Orkney Islands, is an archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an island group or island chain, is a chain, cluster or collection of island A ...

Orkney
. During the
Late Pleistocene The Late Pleistocene is an unofficial age in the international geologic timescale The geologic time scale (GTS) is a system of chronological datingChronological dating, or simply dating, is the process of attributing to an object or event ...
epoch, reindeer occurred further south, such as in
Nevada Nevada (, ) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper i ...

Nevada
,
Tennessee Tennessee (, ), officially the State of Tennessee, is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The S ...

Tennessee
, and
Alabama (We dare defend our rights) , anthem = "Alabama (We dare defend our rights) , anthem = "Alabama (state song), Alabama" , image_map = Alabama in United States.svg , seat ...

Alabama
in North America and as far south as
Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , national_anthem = , image_map = , map_caption = , image_map2 ...

Spain
in Europe. Today, wild reindeer have disappeared from these areas, especially from the southern parts, where it vanished almost everywhere. Large populations of wild reindeer are still found in
Norway Norway, officially the Kingdom of Norway,Names in the official and recognised languages: Bokmål Bokmål (, ; literally "book tongue") is an official written standard for the Norwegian language Norwegian (Norwegian: ''norsk'') is a Nort ...

Norway
,
Finland Finland ( fi, Suomi ; sv, Finland ), officially the Republic of Finland (; ), is a Nordic country in Northern Europe. It shares land borders with Sweden to the west, Russia to the east, Norway to the north, and is defined by the Gulf of B ...

Finland
,
Siberia Siberia (; rus, Сибирь, r=Sibir', p=sʲɪˈbʲirʲ, a=Ru-Сибирь.ogg) is an extensive geographical region, constituting all of North Asia, from the Ural Mountains in the west to the Pacific Ocean in the east. It has been a part of R ...

Siberia
, Greenland, Alaska and Canada. According to Grubb (2005), ''Rangifer tarandus'' is "circumboreal in the tundra and taiga" from "Svalbard, Norway, Finland, Russia, Alaska (USA) and Canada including most Arctic islands, and Greenland, south to northern
Mongolia Mongolia (, mn, Монгол Улс, Mongol Uls, Mongolian script, Traditional Mongolian: '; literal translation, lit. "Mongol Nation" or "State of Mongolia") is a landlocked country in East Asia. It is bordered by Russia Mongolia–Russia ...

Mongolia
,
China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere ...

China
(Inner Mongolia),
Sakhalin Island Sakhalin ( or ; rus, Сахали́н, r=Sakhalín, p=səxɐˈlʲin; ja, 樺太 ''Karafuto'') is the northernmost island of the Japanese archipelago and the largest island of the Russian Federation Russia (russian: link=no, Росси ...
, and USA (northern Idaho and Great Lakes region)." Reindeer were introduced to, and live feral in, "Iceland,
Kerguelen Islands The Kerguelen Islands ( or ; in French commonly ' but officially ', ), also known as the Desolation Islands (' in French), are a group of islands in the Antarctic constituting one of the two exposed parts of the Kerguelen Plateau, a large ig ...
,
South Georgia Island South Georgia ( es, Isla San Pedro) is an island in the southern Atlantic Ocean that is part of the British Overseas Territory of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands. The main settlement is Grytviken. South Georgia is 167.4 kilometres ( ...

South Georgia Island
,
Pribilof Islands Image:PribilofIslands.jpg, Map of the Pribilof Islands The Pribilof Islands (formerly the Northern Fur Seal Islands; russian: Острова Прибылова) are a group of four volcanic islands off the coast of mainland Alaska, in the Bering ...
,
St. Matthew Island St. Matthew Island (russian: Остров Святого Матвея) is a remote island in the Bering Sea The Bering Sea (, ; rus, Бе́рингово мо́ре, r=Béringovo móre) is a marginal sea of the Northern Pacific Ocean. It for ...
"; a free-ranging semi-domesticated herd is also present in Scotland. There is strong regional variation in ''Rangifer'' herd size. There are large population differences among individual herds and the size of individual herds has varied greatly since 1970. The largest of all herds (in Taimyr, Russia) has varied between 400,000 and 1,000,000; the second largest herd (at the George River in Canada) has varied between 28,000 and 385,000. While ''Rangifer'' is a widespread and numerous genus in the northern
Holarctic The Holarctic realm is a biogeographic realm A biogeographic realm or ecozone is the broadest biogeographic division of Earth's land surface, based on distributional patterns of terrestrial organisms. They are subdivided into ecoregion ...
, being present in both
tundra In physical geography Physical geography (also known as physiography) is one of the two fields of geography Geography (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα ...

tundra
and
taiga Taiga (; rus, тайга́, p=tɐjˈɡa; relates to Mongolic and Turkic Turkic may refer to: * anything related to the country of Turkey * Turkic languages, a language family of at least thirty-five documented languages ** Turkic alphabets (d ...

taiga
(boreal forest), by 2013, many herds had "unusually low numbers" and their winter ranges in particular were smaller than they used to be. Caribou and reindeer numbers have fluctuated historically, but many herds are in decline across their range. This global decline is linked to
climate change Contemporary climate change includes both the global warming caused by humans, and its impacts on Earth's weather patterns. There have been previous periods of climate change, but the current changes are more rapid than any known even ...
for northern migratory herds and industrial disturbance of habitat for non-migratory herds.
Barren-ground caribou The barren-ground caribou (''Rangifer tarandus groenlandicus'') is a subspecies of the reindeer (or the caribou in North America) that is found mainly in the Canada, Canadian territories of Nunavut and the Northwest Territories, as well as in Ki ...
are susceptible to the effects of
climate change Contemporary climate change includes both the global warming caused by humans, and its impacts on Earth's weather patterns. There have been previous periods of climate change, but the current changes are more rapid than any known even ...
due to a mismatch in the process, between the availability of food during the calving period. In November 2016, it was reported that more than 81,000
reindeer in Russia Reindeer in Russia include tundra and forest reindeer The reindeer (''Rangifer tarandus''), also known as the caribou in North America, is a species of deer with circumpolar distribution, native to Arctic, subarctic, tundra, boreal, and mou ...
had died as a result of climate change. Longer autumns, leading to increased amounts of freezing rain, created a few inches of ice over
lichen A lichen ( , ) is a composite organism In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecu ...

lichen
, starving many reindeer.


Diet

Reindeer are
ruminant Ruminants (suborder Ruminantia) are large ungulate, hoofed herbivorous grazing or browsing mammals that are able to acquire nutrients from plant-based food by Enteric fermentation, fermenting it in a specialized stomach prior to digestion, princi ...
s, having a four-chambered stomach. They mainly eat
lichen A lichen ( , ) is a composite organism In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecu ...

lichen
s in winter, especially ; they are the only large mammal able to metabolise lichen owing to specialised bacteria and protozoa in their gut. They are also the only animals (except for some
gastropod The gastropods (), commonly known as snails and slugs, belong to a large taxonomic Taxonomy (general) is the practice and science of classification of things or concepts, including the principles that underlie such classification. The term may ...
s) in which the
enzyme Enzymes () are proteins that act as biological catalysts (biocatalysts). Catalysts accelerate chemical reactions. The molecules upon which enzymes may act are called substrate (chemistry), substrates, and the enzyme converts the substrates in ...

enzyme
lichenase, which breaks down
lichenin Lichenin, also known as lichenan or moss starch, is a complex glucan A glucan is a polysaccharide , a beta-glucan polysaccharide Image:amylose 3Dprojection.svg">350px, Amylose is a linear polymer of glucose mainly linked with α(1→4) bonds. It ...
to
glucose Glucose is a simple with the . Glucose is the most abundant , a subcategory of s. Glucose is mainly made by and most during from water and carbon dioxide, using energy from sunlight, where it is used to make in s, the most abundant carbohydr ...

glucose
, has been found. However, they also eat the leaves of
willow Willows, also called sallows and osiers, from the genus Genus /ˈdʒiː.nəs/ (plural genera /ˈdʒen.ər.ə/) is a taxonomic rank In biological classification In biology, taxonomy () is the scientific study of naming, defining ( ...

willow
s and
birch A birch is a thin-leaved deciduous hardwood tree of the genus ''Betula'' (), in the family Betulaceae, which also includes alders, hazels, and hornbeams. It is closely related to the beech-oak family Fagaceae. The genus ''Betula'' contains 30 ...

birch
es, as well as
sedge The Cyperaceae are a family of graminoid (grass-like), monocotyledonous flowering plants known as sedges. The Family (biology), family is large, with some 5,500 known species described in about 90 genera, the largest being the "true sedges" gen ...
s and
grass Poaceae () or Gramineae () is a large and nearly ubiquitous family In , family (from la, familia) is a of people related either by (by recognized birth) or (by marriage or other relationship). The purpose of families is to maintain ...

grass
es. Reindeer are osteophagous, they are known to gnaw and partly consume shed antlers as a dietary supplement and in some extreme cases will cannibalise each other's antlers before shedding. There is also some evidence to suggest that on occasion, especially in the spring when they are nutritionally stressed, they will feed on small rodents (such as
lemming A lemming is a small rodent, usually found in or near the Arctic in tundra biomes. Lemmings make up the Family (biology), subfamily Arvicolinae (also known as Microtinae) together with voles and muskrats, which form part of the superfamily Muroid ...

lemming
s), fish (such as
Arctic char The Arctic char or Arctic charr (''Salvelinus alpinus'') is a cold-water fish in the family Salmonidae, native to alpine lakes and arctic and subarctic coastal waters. Its distribution is circumpolar distribution, Circumpolar North. It Spawn (bi ...

Arctic char
), and
bird eggs Bird eggs are laid by the female Female (symbol: ♀) is the sex of an organism that produces the large non-mobile ovum, ova (egg cells), the type of gamete (sex cell) that fuses with the Sperm, male gamete during sexual reproduction. A fe ...
. Reindeer herded by the
Chukchis Image:Tschuktsch i regnrock.jpg, Chukchi man The Chukchi, or Chukchee ( ckt, Ԓыгъоравэтԓьэт, О'равэтԓьэт), are an Indigenous peoples of Siberia, indigenous people inhabiting the Chukchi Peninsula, the shores of the Chukch ...
have been known to devour mushrooms enthusiastically in late summer. During the Arctic summer, when there is , reindeer change their sleeping pattern from one to an
ultradian In chronobiology Chronobiology is a field of biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular intera ...
pattern, in which they sleep when they need to digest food.


Predators

A variety of predators prey heavily on reindeer, including overhunting by people in some areas, which contributes to the decline of populations.
Golden eagle The golden eagle (''Aquila chrysaetos'') is a bird of prey living in the Northern Hemisphere. It is the most widely distributed species of eagle. Like all eagles, it belongs to the family Accipitridae. They are one of the best-known bird of pr ...

Golden eagle
s prey on calves and are the most prolific hunter on the calving grounds.
Wolverine The wolverine () (also spelled wolverene), ''Gulo gulo'' (''Gulo'' is Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from ...

Wolverine
s will take newborn calves or birthing cows, as well as (less commonly) infirm adults.
Brown bear The brown bear (''Ursus arctos'') is a large bear Bears are carnivoran mammals of the family (biology), family Ursidae. They are classified as caniforms, or doglike carnivorans. Although only eight species of bears are extant, they are ...

Brown bear
s and
polar bear The polar bear (''Ursus Ursus is Latin for bear. It may also refer to: Animals *Ursus (mammal), ''Ursus'' (mammal), a genus of bears People * Ursus of Aosta, 6th-century evangelist * Ursus of Auxerre, 6th-century bishop * Ursus of Soloth ...

polar bear
s prey on reindeer of all ages but, like wolverines, they are most likely to attack weaker animals, such as calves and sick reindeer, since healthy adult reindeer can usually outpace a bear. The grey
wolf The wolf (''Canis lupus''), also known as the gray wolf or grey wolf, is a large canine Canine may refer to: Zoology * dog-like mammals (i.e. members of the canid subfamily Caninae) ** ''Canis'', a genus including dogs, wolves, coyotes, a ...

wolf
is the most effective natural predator of adult reindeer and sometimes takes large numbers, especially during the winter. Some wolf packs, as well as individual grizzly bears in Canada, may follow and live off of a particular reindeer herd year-round. In 2020, scientists on
Svalbard Svalbard ( , ), previously known as Spitsbergen, or Spitzbergen, is a Norwegian Norwegian, Norwayan, or Norsk may refer to: *Something of, from, or related to Norway, a country in northwestern Europe *Norwegians, both a nation and an ethnic ...

Svalbard
witnessed, and were able to film for the first time, a polar bear attack reindeer, driving one into the ocean, where the polar bear caught up with and killed it. The same bear successfully repeated this hunting technique the next day. On Svalbard, reindeer remains account for 27.3% in polar bear scats, suggesting they "may be a significant part of the polar bear's diet in that area". Additionally, as carrion, reindeer may be scavenged opportunistically by
fox Foxes are small to medium-sized, s belonging to several of the family . They have a flattened skull, upright triangular ears, a pointed, slightly upturned , and a long bushy (or ''brush''). Twelve belong to the "true foxes" group of ge ...

fox
es,
hawk Hawks are a group of medium- diurnal birds of prey Birds of prey, also known as raptors, include species of bird that primarily hunt and feed on vertebrates that are large relative to the hunter. Additionally, they have Bird vision, keen ey ...

hawk
s and
raven A raven is any of several larger-bodied bird Birds are a group of warm-blooded vertebrates constituting the class Class or The Class may refer to: Common uses not otherwise categorized * Class (biology), a taxonomic rank * Class ...

raven
s. Bloodsucking insects, such as
mosquito Mosquitoes are members of a group of almost 3,600 species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A species is often defin ...

mosquito
es,
black flies A black fly or blackfly (sometimes called a buffalo gnat A gnat is any of many species of tiny flying insects in the Diptera, dipterid suborder Nematocera, especially those in the families Mycetophilidae, Anisopodidae and Sciaridae. They c ...

black flies
,
botflies Botflies, also known as warble flies, heel flies, and gadflies, are a family of flies technically known as the Oestridae. Their larvae are internal parasites of mammals, some species growing in the host's flesh and others within the gut. ''Dermat ...
, deer botflies (specifically, the reindeer warble fly or reindeer botfly (''
Hypoderma tarandi ''Hypoderma tarandi'', also known as the reindeer warble fly and reindeer botfly, is a species of warble fly that is parasitism, parasitic on reindeer. The larvae of this fly are a skin-penetrating ectoparasite that usually infest populations of ...

Hypoderma tarandi
'') and the reindeer nose botfly ('''')), are a plague to reindeer during the summer and can cause enough stress to inhibit feeding and calving behaviours. An adult reindeer will lose perhaps about of blood to biting insects for every week it spends in the tundra. The population numbers of some of these predators is influenced by the migration of reindeer. Tormenting insects keep caribou on the move, searching for windy areas like hilltops and mountain ridges, rock reefs, lakeshore and forest openings, or snow patches that offer respite from the buzzing horde. Gathering in large herds is another strategy that caribou use to block insects. Reindeer are good swimmers, and in one case, the entire body of a reindeer was found in the stomach of a
Greenland shark The Greenland shark (''Somniosus microcephalus''), also known as the gurry shark, grey shark, or by the Kalaallisut name ''eqalussuaq'', is a large shark Sharks are a group of elasmobranch fish characterized by a Chondrichthyes#Skeleton, ca ...
, a species found in the far northern .


Other threats

White-tailed deer The white-tailed deer (''Odocoileus virginianus''), also known as the whitetail or Virginia deer, is a medium-sized deer Deer or true deer are ed s forming the Cervidae. The two main groups of deer are the , including the , the (wapit ...

White-tailed deer
(''Odocoileus virginianus'') commonly carry meningeal worm or brainworm, a
nematode The nematodes ( or grc-gre, Νηματώδη; la, Nematoda) or roundworms constitute the phylum Nematoda (also called Nemathelminthes), with plant-parasitic nematodes also known as eelworms. They are a diverse animal phylum inhabiting a bro ...

nematode
parasite that causes reindeer,
moose The moose (in North America) or elk (in Eurasia) (''Alces alces'') is a member of the New World deer subfamily and is the largest and heaviest extant Extant is the opposite of the word extinct Extinction is the termination of a kind of ...

moose
(''Alces alces''),
elk The elk (''Cervus canadensis''), also known as the wapiti, is one of the largest species within the deer Deer or true deer are ed s forming the Cervidae. The two main groups of deer are the , including the , the (wapiti), the , a ...

elk
(''Cervus canadensis''), and (''Odocoileus hemionus'') to develop fatal neurological symptoms which include a loss of fear of humans. White-tailed deer that carry this worm are partly immune to it. Changes in climate and habitat beginning in the 20th century have expanded range overlap between white-tailed deer and caribou, increasing the frequency of infection within the reindeer population. This increase in infection is a concern for wildlife managers. Human activities, such as "clear-cutting forestry practices, forest fires, and the clearing for agriculture, roadways, railways, and power lines," favour the conversion of habitats into the preferred habitat of the white-tailed deer - "open forest interspersed with meadows, clearings, grasslands, and riparian flatlands." Towards the end of the Soviet Union, there was increasingly open admission from the Soviet government that reindeer numbers were being negatively affected by human activity, and that this must be remediated especially by supporting reindeer breeding by native herders.


Conservation


Current status

While overall widespread and numerous, some reindeer
subspecies In biological classification In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interacti ...
are rare and two have already gone
extinct Extinction is the termination of a kind of organism In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biol ...
. As of 2015, the
IUCN The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN; officially International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources) is an international organization An international organization (also known as an international institut ...
has classified the reindeer as
Vulnerable Vulnerable may refer to: General *Vulnerability *Vulnerability (computing) *Vulnerable adult *Vulnerable species Music Albums *Vulnerable (Marvin Gaye album), ''Vulnerable'' (Marvin Gaye album), 1997 *Vulnerable (Tricky album), ''Vulnerable'' (T ...
due to an observed population decline of 40% over the last +25 years. According to IUCN, ''Rangifer tarandus'' as a species is not endangered because of its overall large population and its widespread range. In North America, ''R. t. dawsoni'' is
extinct Extinction is the termination of a kind of organism In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biol ...
, ''R. t. pearyi'' is endangered, ''R. t. caribou'' is designated as threatened and some individual populations are endangered. While the subspecies ''R. t. granti'' and ''R. t. groenlandicus'' are not designated as threatened, many individual herds — including some of the largest — are declining and there is much concern at the local level. ''Rangifer tarandus'' is endangered in Canada in regions such as southeastern British Columbia at the
Canada–United States border The Canada–United States border, officially known as the International Boundary, is the longest international border Borders are geographic Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of sc ...
, along the
Columbia Columbia may refer to: * Columbia (personification), the historical female national personification of the United States, and a poetic name for the Americas Places North America Natural features * Columbia Plateau, a geologic and geographic regio ...

Columbia
, Kootenay and
Kootenai The Kutenai (), also known as the Ktunaxa ( ; ), Ksanka (), Kootenay (in Canada) and Kootenai (in the United States), are an indigenous peoples of the Americas, indigenous people of Canada and the United States. Kutenai bands live in southea ...
Rivers and around
Kootenay Lake Kootenay Lake is a lake located in British Columbia, Canada and is part of the Kootenay River. The lake has been raised by the Corra Linn Dam and has a dike system at the southern end, which, along with industry in the 1950s-70s, has changed the ec ...
. ''Rangifer tarandus'' is now considered
extirpated Local extinction, also known as extirpation, is the condition of a species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A specie ...
in the contiguous United States, including
Idaho Idaho () is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in ...

Idaho
and
Washington Washington commonly refers to: * Washington (state), United States * Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States ** Federal government of the United States (metonym) ** Washington metropolitan area, the metropolitan area centered on Washingt ...
. There is strong regional variation in ''Rangifer'' herd size. By 2013, many caribou herds in North America had "unusually low numbers" and their winter ranges in particular were smaller than they used to be. Caribou numbers have fluctuated historically, but many herds are in decline across their range. There are many factors contributing to the decline in numbers.


Boreal woodland caribou (COSEWIC designation as threatened)

Ongoing human development of their
habitat In ecology Ecology (from el, οἶκος, "house" and el, -λογία, label=none, "study of") is the study of the relationships between living organisms, including humans, and their physical environment. Ecology considers at the ...

habitat
has caused populations of woodland caribou to disappear from their original southern range. In particular, caribou were
extirpated Local extinction, also known as extirpation, is the condition of a species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A specie ...
in many areas of eastern North America in the beginning of the 20th century. Woodland caribou were designated as
threatened Threatened Species are any species (including animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular eukaryotic organisms that form the Kingdom (biology), biological kingdom Animalia. With few exceptions, animals Heterotroph, consume org ...
in 2002.
Environment Canada Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC; french: Environnement et Changement climatique Canada)Environment and Climate Change Canada is the applied title under the Federal Identity Program on the Remote Manipulator System, Canadarm The Fede ...
reported in 2011 that there were approximately 34,000 boreal woodland caribou in 51 ranges remaining in Canada (Environment Canada, 2011b). Professor Marco Musiani of the University of Calgary said in a statement that "The woodland caribou is already an endangered species in southern Canada and the United States...warming of the planet means the disappearance of their critical habitat in these regions. Caribou need undisturbed lichen-rich environments and these types of habitats are disappearing." Woodland caribou have disappeared from most of their original southern range and were designated as
threatened Threatened Species are any species (including animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular eukaryotic organisms that form the Kingdom (biology), biological kingdom Animalia. With few exceptions, animals Heterotroph, consume org ...
in 2002 by the
Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC, French: Comité sur la situation des espèces en péril au Canada, COSEPAC) is an independent committee of wildlife experts and scientists whose "raison d'être is to identify sp ...
, (COSEWIC). Environment Canada reported in 2011 that there were approximately 34 000 boreal woodland caribou in 51 ranges remaining in Canada.(
Environment Canada Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC; french: Environnement et Changement climatique Canada)Environment and Climate Change Canada is the applied title under the Federal Identity Program on the Remote Manipulator System, Canadarm The Fede ...
, 2011b). "According to Geist, the "woodland caribou is highly endangered throughout its distribution right into Ontario." In 2002 the Atlantic-Gaspésie population of the woodland caribou was designated as endangered by COSEWIC. The small isolated population of 200 animals was at risk from predation and habitat loss.


Peary caribou (COSEWIC designation as endangered)

In 1991 COSEWIC assigned "endangered status" to the Banks Island and High Arctic populations of Peary caribou. The Low Arctic population of Peary caribou was designated as threatened. By 2004 all three were designated as "endangered."


Relationship with humans

The reindeer has an important economic role for all
circumpolar peoples Circumpolar peoples and Arctic peoples are umbrella terms for the various Indigenous peoples Indigenous peoples, also referred to as First people, Aboriginal people, Native people, or autochthonous people, are culturally distinct ethnic groups ...
, including the Sámi, the Swedes, the Norwegians, Finns and the northwestern Russians in Europe, the Nenets, the
Khanty The Khanty (in older literature: Ostyaks) are a Ugrian The Ugric or Ugrian languages ( or ) are a proposed branch of the Uralic language family A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech ( spo ...
, the
Evenks The Evenks (also spelled Ewenki or Evenki based on their endonym )Autonym: (); russian: Эвенки (); (); formerly known as Tungus or Tunguz; mn, Хамниган () or Aiwenji () are a Tungusic people Tungusic peoples are an ethno-lingui ...
, the
Yukaghirs The Yukaghirs, or Yukagirs ( (''odul, detkil''), russian: юкаги́ры) are a people in the Russian Far East Koryaksky volcano in Kamchatka The Russian Far East ( rus, Дальний Восток России, r=Dal'niy Vostok Rossii ...
, the
Chukchi Chukchi may refer to: *Chukchi people *Chukchi language *Chukchi Peninsula *Chukchi Sea See also

*Chukotka (disambiguation) *Chukotsky (disambiguation) {{Disambig, geo Language and nationality disambiguation pages ...
and the
Koryaks Koryaks (or Koriak, ) are an indigenous people#North Asia, indigenous people of the Russian Far East, who live immediately north of the Kamchatka Peninsula in Kamchatka Krai and inhabit the coastlands of the Bering Sea. The cultural borders of th ...
in Asia and the
Inuit Inuit (; iu, ᐃᓄᐃᑦ 'the people', singular: Inuk, , dual: Inuuk, ) are a group of culturally similar indigenous peoples Indigenous peoples, also referred to as First people, Aboriginal people, Native people, or autochthonous people, ...
in North America. It is believed that domestication started between the
Bronze Bronze is an alloy An alloy is an admixture of metal A metal (from Ancient Greek, Greek μέταλλον ''métallon'', "mine, quarry, metal") is a material that, when freshly prepared, polished, or fractured, shows a lustrous appear ...
and
Iron Age The Iron Age is the final epoch of the three-age division of the prehistory Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, or world history, is the narrative of Human, humanity's pa ...
s. Siberian reindeer owners also use the reindeer to ride on (Siberian reindeer are larger than their Scandinavian relatives). For breeders, a single owner may own hundreds or even thousands of animals. The numbers of Russian and Scandinavian reindeer herders have been drastically reduced since 1990. The sale of
fur Fur is a thick growth of hair Hair is a protein filament In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular bi ...

fur
and meat is an important source of income. Reindeer were introduced into Alaska near the end of the 19th century; they interbred with the native caribou subspecies there. Reindeer herders on the
Seward Peninsula The Seward Peninsula is a large peninsula on the western coast of the U.S. state In the , a state is a , of which there are currently 50. Bound together in a , each state holds al jurisdiction over a separate and defined geographic territ ...
have experienced significant losses to their herds from animals (such as wolves) following the wild caribou during their migrations. Reindeer meat is popular in the Scandinavian countries. Reindeer
meatball A meatball is ground meat Ground meat, called mince or minced meat outside North America, is meat finely chopped by a meat grinder or a chopping knife. A common type of ground meat is ground beef, but many other types of meats are prepared ...

meatball
s are sold canned. Sautéed reindeer is the best-known dish in Sápmi. In Alaska and Finland, reindeer
sausage A sausage is a type of meat Meat is animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular eukaryotic organisms that form the Kingdom (biology), biological kingdom Animalia. With few exceptions, animals Heterotroph, consum ...

sausage
is sold in supermarkets and
grocery store A grocery store (North America), grocery or grocery shop (UK) is a store that primarily retails a general range of food products, which may be fresh Fresh or FRESH may refer to: People *DJ Fresh Daniel Edward Stein (born 11 April 197 ...

grocery store
s. Reindeer meat is very tender and lean. It can be prepared fresh, but also dried, salted and hot- and cold-
smoked Smoking is the process of flavoring Flavor (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the United ...
. In addition to meat, almost all of the internal organs of reindeer can be eaten, some being traditional dishes. Furthermore, ''Lapin Poron liha'', fresh reindeer meat completely produced and packed in Finnish Sápmi, is protected in Europe with PDO classification.Lapland Reindeer meat protected in the EU
. North Magazine (Accessed 19 July 2010)

(Accessed 19 July 2010)
Reindeer antlers are powdered and sold as an
aphrodisiac An aphrodisiac is a substance that increases sexual desire, sexual attraction, sexual pleasure, or sexual behavior. Substances range from a variety of plants, spices, foods, and synthetic chemicals. Therefore, they can be classified by their che ...
, or as a nutritional or medicinal supplement, to Asian markets. The blood of the caribou was supposedly mixed with alcohol as drink by hunters and loggers in colonial Quebec to counter the cold. This drink is now enjoyed without the blood as a wine and whiskey drink known as ''
Caribou The reindeer (''Rangifer tarandus''), also known as the caribou in North America, is a species of deer with circumpolar distribution, native to Arctic, subarctic, tundra, boreal, and mountainous regions of northern Europe, Siberia, and North ...
''.


Caribou and the indigenous peoples of North America

Caribou are still hunted in Greenland and in North America. In the traditional lifestyle of the
Inuit Inuit (; iu, ᐃᓄᐃᑦ 'the people', singular: Inuk, , dual: Inuuk, ) are a group of culturally similar indigenous peoples Indigenous peoples, also referred to as First people, Aboriginal people, Native people, or autochthonous people, ...
people, the northern
First Nations The First Nations (french: Premières Nations ) are groups of Canadian indigenous peoples, who are classified as distinct from the Inuit Inuit (; iu, ᐃᓄᐃᑦ 'the people', singular: Inuk, , dual: Inuuk, ) are a group of culturally s ...
people, the
Alaska Natives Alaska Natives or Alaskan Natives are indigenous peoples Indigenous peoples, also referred to as first peoples, first nations, aboriginal peoples, native peoples (with these terms often capitalized when referred to relating to specific c ...
, and the
Kalaallit Kalaallit make up the largest group of the Greenlandic Inuit Greenlanders ( kl, Kalaallit / Tunumiit / Inughuit; da, Grønlændere) are people identified with the country of Greenland or the Indigenous peoples of the Americas, indigenous peop ...
of Greenland, caribou is an important source of food, clothing, shelter and tools. The
Caribou Inuit Caribou Inuit ( iu, Kivallirmiut/ᑭᕙᓪᓕᕐᒥᐅᑦ), barren-ground caribou The barren-ground caribou (''Rangifer tarandus groenlandicus'') is a subspecies of the reindeer (or the caribou in North America) that is found mainly in the Canad ...
are inland-dwelling Inuit in present-day
Nunavut Nunavut ( iu, ᓄᓇᕗᑦ ; ) is the largest and northernmost provinces and territories of Canada, territory of Canada. It was separated officially from the Northwest Territories on April 1, 1999, via the ''Nunavut Act'' and the ''Nunavut ...
's
Kivalliq Region The Kivalliq Region (; Inuktitut syllabics: ᑭᕙᓪᓕᖅ ) is an Region, administrative List of regions of Nunavut, region of Nunavut, Canada. It consists of the portion of the mainland to the west of Hudson Bay together with Southampton Island ...
, formerly the
Keewatin Region, Northwest Territories :''The Keewatin Region was a distinct entity from the District of Keewatin, although much of their territory overlapped.'' The Keewatin Region was a Regions of the Northwest Territories, region of the Northwest Territories, in use as an administrat ...
, Canada. They subsisted on caribou year-round, eating dried caribou meat in the winter. The
Ihalmiut The Ahiarmiut Inuktitut syllabics, ᐃᓴᓪᒥᐅᑦ ("People from Beyond") or ("the Out-of-the-Way Dwellers") are a group of inland Inuit who lived along the banks of the Kazan River, Ennadai Lake, and Little Dubawnt Lake (renamed ''Kamilikuak' ...
are Caribou Inuit that followed the Qamanirjuaq barren-ground caribou herd. There is an Inuit saying in the
Kivalliq Region The Kivalliq Region (; Inuktitut syllabics: ᑭᕙᓪᓕᖅ ) is an Region, administrative List of regions of Nunavut, region of Nunavut, Canada. It consists of the portion of the mainland to the west of Hudson Bay together with Southampton Island ...
: Elder Chief of Koyukuk and chair for the Western Arctic Caribou Herd Working Group, Benedict Jones, or Kʼughtoʼoodenoolʼoʼ, represents the Middle
Yukon River The Yukon River ( Gwich'in: ''Ųųg Han'' or ''Yuk Han,'' Yup'ik The Yup'ik or Yupiaq (sg & pl) and Yupiit or Yupiat (pl), also Central Alaskan Yup'ik, Central Yup'ik, Alaskan Yup'ik ( own name ''Yup'ik'' sg ''Yupiik'' dual ''Yupiit'' pl; r ...

Yukon River
, Alaska. His grandmother was a member of the Caribou Clan, who travelled with the caribou as a means to survive. In 1939, they were living the traditional life style at one of their hunting camps in Koyukuk near the location of what is now the
Koyukuk National Wildlife Refuge The Koyukuk National Wildlife Refuge is a conservation area in Alaska. It lies within the floodplain of the Koyukuk River, in a basin that extends from the Yukon River to the Purcell Mountains and the foothills of the Brooks Range. This region of w ...

Koyukuk National Wildlife Refuge
. His grandmother made a pair of new mukluks in one day. Kʼughtoʼoodenoolʼoʼ recounted a story told by an elder, who "worked on the steamboats during the
gold rush cut the travel time from New York to San Francisco in seven months to four months in the 1849 California Gold Rush, Gold Rush. A gold rush or gold fever is a discovery of gold—sometimes accompanied by other precious metals and rare-earth miner ...

gold rush
days out on the Yukon." In late August, the caribou migrated from the Alaska Range up north to
Huslia Huslia (; in Koyukon language, Koyukon) is a City (Alaska), city in Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area, Alaska, Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area, Alaska, United States. Rarely known as Hussliakatna, it is inhabited by Koyukon people, Koyukuk-hotana Athabasca ...
, Koyukuk and the Tanana area. One year when the steamboat was unable to continue, they ran into a caribou herd estimated to number 1 million animals, migrating across the Yukon. "They tied up for seven days waiting for the caribou to cross. They ran out of wood for the steamboats, and had to go back down 40 miles to the wood pile to pick up some more wood. On the tenth day, they came back and they said there was still caribou going across the river night and day." The Gwich'in, the indigenous people of northwestern Canada and northeastern Alaska, have been dependent on the international migratory
Porcupine caribou The Porcupine caribou or Grant's caribou (''Rangifer tarandus granti'') is a subspecies In Taxonomy (biology), biological classification, the term subspecies refers to one of two or more populations of a species living in different subdivisio ...
herd for millennia. To them caribou — ''vadzaih'' — is the cultural symbol and a keystone subsistence species of the Gwich'in, just as the is to the Plains Indians. Innovative
language revitalisation A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most languages have a writing system composed of glyphs to inscribe the original soun ...
projects are underway to document the language and to enhance the writing and translation skills of younger Gwich'in speakers. In one project, lead research associate and fluent speaker Gwich’in elder Kenneth Frank works with linguists which include young Gwich'in speakers affiliated with the
Alaska Native Language Center The Alaska Native Language Center, established in 1972 in Fairbanks Fairbanks is a home rule city and the county seat, borough seat of the Fairbanks North Star Borough, Alaska, Fairbanks North Star Borough in the U.S. state of Alaska. Fairban ...
at the
University of Alaska The University of Alaska System is a system of public universities in the U.S. state of Alaska. It was created in 1917 and comprises three separately accredited universities on 19 campuses. The system serves nearly 30,000 full- and part-time stud ...
in
Fairbanks Fairbanks is a home rule city and the county seat, borough seat of the Fairbanks North Star Borough, Alaska, Fairbanks North Star Borough in the U.S. state of Alaska. Fairbanks is the largest city in the Alaska Interior, Interior region of Al ...
to document traditional knowledge of caribou anatomy. The main goal of the research was to "elicit not only what the Gwich'in know about caribou anatomy, but how they see caribou and what they say and believe about caribou that defines themselves, their dietary and nutritional needs, and their subsistence way of life." Elders have identified at least 150 descriptive Gwich'in names for all of the bones, organs and tissues. Associated with the caribou's anatomy are not just descriptive Gwich'in names for all of the body parts, including bones, organs, and tissues, but also "an encyclopedia of stories, songs, games, toys, ceremonies, traditional tools, skin clothing, personal names and surnames, and a highly developed ethnic cuisine." In the 1980s, Gwich'in Traditional Management Practices were established to protect the
Porcupine caribou The Porcupine caribou or Grant's caribou (''Rangifer tarandus granti'') is a subspecies In Taxonomy (biology), biological classification, the term subspecies refers to one of two or more populations of a species living in different subdivisio ...
, upon which the Gwich'in people depend. They "codified traditional principles of caribou management into tribal law" which include "limits on the harvest of caribou and procedures to be followed in processing and transporting caribou meat" and limits on the number of caribou to be taken per hunting trip.


Reindeer and the indigenous peoples of Eurasia

Reindeer herding has been vital for the subsistence of several Eurasian nomadic indigenous peoples living in the circumpolar Arctic zone such as the Sámi, Nenets, and
KomiKomi may refer to: Places Greece *Komi, Cyclades, a village on the island of Tinos, part of the municipality Exomvourgo *Komi, Elis, a settlement in the municipality of Vouprasia Iran *Komi, Iran, a village in East Azerbaijan Province, Iran Japan ...

Komi
. Reindeer are used to provide renewable sources and reliable transportation. In Mongolia, the
Dukha The Dukha, DukhansElisabetta Ragagnin (2011)Dukhan, a Turkic Variety of Northern Mongolia, Description and Analysis Harrassowitz Verlag, Wiesbaden or Duhalar ( mn, Цаатан, Tsaatan) are a small Tuvans, Tuvan (Tozhu Tuvans) Turkic peoples, Turk ...
are known as the reindeer people. They are credited as one of the world's earliest domesticators. The Dukha diet consists mainly of reindeer dairy products. Reindeer husbandry is common in Fennoscandia (Norway, Sweden, Finland, and the northwestern Russian region). In Norway and Sweden, reindeer ownership is restricted to the Sámi people. In some human groups such as the Eveny, wild reindeer and domesticated reindeer are treated as different kinds of beings.


Reindeer husbandry

The reindeer is the only domesticated deer in the world, though it may be more accurate to consider reindeer as semi-domesticated. Reindeer in northern Fennoscandia (northern
Norway Norway, officially the Kingdom of Norway,Names in the official and recognised languages: Bokmål Bokmål (, ; literally "book tongue") is an official written standard for the Norwegian language Norwegian (Norwegian: ''norsk'') is a Nort ...

Norway
,
Sweden Sweden ( sv, Sverige ), officially the Kingdom of Sweden ( sv, links=no, Konungariket Sverige ), is a Nordic country The Nordic countries, or the Nordics, are a geographical and cultural region In geography, regions are areas that ...

Sweden
and
Finland Finland ( fi, Suomi ; sv, Finland ), officially the Republic of Finland (; ), is a Nordic country in Northern Europe. It shares land borders with Sweden to the west, Russia to the east, Norway to the north, and is defined by the Gulf of B ...

Finland
) as well in the
Kola Peninsula sjd, Куэлнэгк нёа̄ррк , image_name= Kola peninsula.png , image_caption= Kola Peninsula as a part of Murmansk Oblast Murmansk Oblast (russian: Му́рманская о́бласть, p=ˈmurmənskəjə ˈobləsʲtʲ, r=Murman ...
and
Yakutia Sakha, also known as Yakutia or Yakutiya,; sah, Саха Сирэ, r= Saqa Sire, p= saˈxa sɪrjə), and officially known as the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) ( rus, Республика Саха (Якутия), r= Respublika Sakha (Yakutiya), p ...

Yakutia
in Russia, are all semi-wild domestic reindeer (''Rangifer tarandus'' forma ''domesticus''), ear-marked by their owners. Some reindeer in the area are truly domesticated, mostly used as draught animals (nowadays commonly for tourist entertainment and races, traditionally important for the nomadic Sámi). Domesticated reindeer have also been used for milk, e.g., in Norway. There are only two genetically pure populations of wild reindeer in Northern Europe: wild mountain reindeer (''Rangifer tarandus tarandus'') that live in central Norway, with a population in 2007 of between 6,000 and 8,400 animals; and wild Finnish forest reindeer (''Rangifer tarandus fennicus'') that live in central and eastern Finland and in Russian Karelia, with a population of about 4,350, plus 1,500 in Arkhangelsk and 2,500 in Komi Republic, Komi. DNA analysis indicates that reindeer were independently domesticated in Fennoscandia and Western Russia (and possibly Eastern Russia). Reindeer have been Herding, herded for centuries by several Arctic and subarctic peoples, including the Sámi, the Nenets and the Yakuts. They are raised for their meat, hides and antlers and, to a lesser extent, for milk and transportation. Reindeer are not considered fully domesticated, as they generally roam free on pasture grounds. In traditional nomadic herding, reindeer herders migrate with their herds between coastal and inland areas according to an annual migration route and herds are keenly tended. However, reindeer were not bred in captivity, though they were tamed for milking as well as for use as draught animals or Working animal, beasts of burden. List of domesticated animals#Tame and partially domesticated animals, Domesticated reindeer are shorter-legged and heavier than their wild counterparts. In Scandinavia, management of reindeer herds is primarily conducted through ''siida'', a traditional Sámi form of cooperative association. The use of reindeer for transportation is common among the nomadic peoples of northern Russia (but not anymore in Scandinavia). Although a sled drawn by 20 reindeer will cover no more than a day (compared to on foot, by a dog sled loaded with cargo and by a dog sled without cargo), it has the advantage that the reindeer will discover their own food, while a pack of 5–7 sled dogs requires of fresh fish a day. The use of reindeer as semi-domesticated livestock in Alaska was introduced in the late 19th century by the United States Revenue Cutter Service, with assistance from Sheldon Jackson, as a means of providing a livelihood for
Alaska Natives Alaska Natives or Alaskan Natives are indigenous peoples Indigenous peoples, also referred to as first peoples, first nations, aboriginal peoples, native peoples (with these terms often capitalized when referred to relating to specific c ...
. Reindeer were imported first from Siberia and later also from Norway. A regular mail run in Wales, Alaska, used a sleigh drawn by reindeer. In Alaska, reindeer herders use satellite telemetry to track their herds, using online maps and databases to chart the herd's progress. Domestication, Domesticated reindeer are mostly found in northern Fennoscandia and Russia, with a herd of approximately 150–170 reindeer living around the Cairngorms region in
Scotland Scotland ( sco, Scotland, gd, Alba Alba (Scottish Gaelic Scottish Gaelic ( gd, Gàidhlig or Scots Gaelic, sometimes referred to simply as Gaelic) is a Goidelic language (in the Celtic languages, Celtic branch of the Indo-European ...

Scotland
. The last remaining wild tundra reindeer in Europe are found in portions of southern Norway.Europe's last wild reindeer herds in peril
. Newscientist. 19 December 2003. Retrieved on 16 September 2011.
The International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry (ICR), a circumpolar organisation, was established in 2005 by the Norwegian government. ICR represents over 20 indigenous reindeer peoples and about 100,000 reindeer herders in nine different national states. In Finland, there are about 6,000 reindeer herders, most of whom keep small herds of less than 50 reindeer to raise additional income. With 185,000 reindeer (2001), the industry produces 2,000 tons of reindeer meat and generates 35 million euros annually. 70% of the meat is sold to slaughterhouses. Reindeer herders are eligible for national and EU Agricultural subsidy, agricultural subsidies, which constituted 15% of their income. Reindeer herding is of central importance for the local economies of small communities in sparsely populated rural Sápmi. Currently, many reindeer herders are heavily dependent on diesel fuel to provide for electric generators and snowmobile transportation, although solar photovoltaic systems can be used to reduce diesel dependency. File:Carta Marina - milking reindeer.jpg, Milking File:Carta Marina - reindeer crossing a frozen lake.jpg, Crossing frozen water File:Carta Marina - reindeer-drawn waggon with bowman.jpg, Drawing a waggon File:Carta Marina - reindeer-drawn sled.jpg, Drawing a one-man sled File:Carta Marina - reindeer-mounted warriors.jpg, Reindeer-mounted cavalry


In history

Reindeer hunting by humans has a very long history and wild reindeer "may well be the species of single greatest importance in the entire anthropological literature on hunting." Both
Aristotle Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questio ...

Aristotle
and
Theophrastus Theophrastus (; grc-gre, Θεόφραστος ; c. 371c. 287 BC), a Greek native of Eresos Eresos (; el, Ερεσός; grc, Ἔρεσος) and its twin beach village Skala Eresou are located in the southwest part of the Greek island of Le ...

Theophrastus
have short accounts – probably based on the same source – of an ox-sized deer species, named ''Parandrus, tarandos'', living in the land of the Budini, Bodines in Scythia, which was able to change the colour of its fur to obtain camouflage. The latter is probably a misunderstanding of the seasonal change in reindeer fur colour. The descriptions have been interpreted as being of reindeer living in the southern Ural Mountains in c. 350 BC. A deer-like animal described by Julius Caesar in his ''Commentarii de Bello Gallico'' (chapter 6.26) from the Hercynian Forest in the year 53 BC is most certainly to be interpreted as a reindeer: According to Olaus Magnus's ''Historia de Gentibus Septentrionalibus'' – printed in Rome in the year 1555 – Gustav I of Sweden sent 10 reindeer to Albert I, Duke of Prussia, in the year 1533. It may be these animals that Conrad Gessner had seen or heard of. During World War II, the Soviet Army used reindeer as pack animals to transport food, ammunition and post from Murmansk to the Karelian Front, Karelian front and bring wounded soldiers, pilots and equipment back to the base. About 6,000 reindeer and more than 1,000 reindeer herders were part of the operation. Most herders were Nenets, who were mobilised from the Nenets Autonomous Okrug, but reindeer herders from Murmansk, Arkhangelsk and Komi Republic, Komi also participated.


Santa Claus's reindeer

Around the world, public interest in reindeer peaks in the Christmas period. According to folklore, Santa Claus's sleigh is pulled by flying reindeer. These reindeer were first named in the 1823 poem "A Visit from St. Nicholas".


In mythology and art

Among the Inuit, there is a story of the origin of the caribou: Inuit artists from the barren lands, incorporate depictions of caribou — and items made from caribou antlers and skin — in carvings, drawings, prints and sculpture. Contemporary Canadian artist Brian Jungen's, of Dunne-za First Nations ancestry, commissioned an installation entitled "The ghosts on top of my head" (2010–11) in Banff, Alberta, which depicts the antlers of caribou, elk and moose. Tomson Highway, Order of Canada, CMTomson Highway
at The Canadian Encyclopedia.
is a Canadians, Canadian and Cree playwright, novelist, and children's author, who was born in a remote area north of Brochet, Manitoba, Brochet, Manitoba. His father, Joe Highway, was a caribou hunter. His 2001 children's book entitled ''Caribou Song/atíhko níkamon'' was selected as one of the "Top 10 Children’s Books" by the Canadian newspaper ''The Globe and Mail.'' The young protagonists of ''Caribou Song'', like Tomson himself, followed the caribou herd with their families.


Heraldry and symbols

Several Norwegian municipalities have one or more reindeer depicted in their coats-of-arms: Eidfjord, Porsanger, Rendalen, Tromsø, Vadsø and Vågå. The historic province of Västerbotten in
Sweden Sweden ( sv, Sverige ), officially the Kingdom of Sweden ( sv, links=no, Konungariket Sverige ), is a Nordic country The Nordic countries, or the Nordics, are a geographical and cultural region In geography, regions are areas that ...

Sweden
has a reindeer in its coat of arms. The present Västerbotten County has very different borders and uses the reindeer combined with other symbols in its coat-of-arms. The city of Piteå also has a reindeer. The logo for Umeå University features three reindeer. The Canadian 25-cent coin or "Quarter (Canadian coin), quarter" features a depiction of a caribou on one face. The caribou is the official provincial animal of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, and appears on the coat of arms of Nunavut. A caribou statue was erected at the centre of the Beaumont-Hamel Newfoundland Memorial, marking the spot in France where hundreds of soldiers from Newfoundland were killed and wounded in World War I and there is a replica in Bowring Park (St. John's), Bowring Park in St. John's, Newfoundland's capital city. Two municipalities in Finland have reindeer motifs in their coats-of-arms: Kuusamo has a running reindeer and Inari, Finland, InariCoat of arms for Inari
. Inari.fi.
has a fish with reindeer antlers.


See also

* Alaska Reindeer Service * Caribou herds and populations in Canada * Rangifer (constellation) * Rangifer (journal), ''Rangifer'' (journal) * Reindeer Police


Notes


References


Bibliography

*


External links

* – the 2011 census results of the WACH, which is Alaska's largest caribou herd.
The Reindeer Portal, Source of Information About Reindeer Husbandry Worldwide





Human Role in Reindeer/Caribou Systems

Reindeer hunting as World Heritage – a ten-thousand-year-long tradition

Reindeer Research Program – Alaska reindeer research and industry development

Adaptations To Life In The Arctic
– Instructional slide-show, University of Alaska
''Rangifer''
– world's only scientific journal dealing exclusively with husbandry, management and biology of Arctic and northern ungulates * * *
''Growth Studies in the Reindeer'' by Charles J. Krebs
at Dartmouth College Library

University of Texas, Austin


Caribou-specific links (North America)



from the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
Caribou and You
– Campaign by CPAWS to protect the woodland caribou, a species at risk in Canada
Newfoundland Five-Year Caribou Strategy Seeks to Address Declining Populations
{{Authority control Reindeer, Alaskan cuisine Mammals described in 1758 Arctic land animals Deer Mammals of the Arctic Holarctic fauna Livestock Mammals of Asia Mammals of Canada Mammals of Greenland Mammals of Europe Mammals of Russia Mammals of the United States Pack animals Taxa named by Carl Linnaeus