Caribou in Canada Across the country, caribou are struggling to survive in their ever-changing habitat. Facing
a modern world, they are losing the battle.
Northern significance: First Nations relationship with caribou For
centuries, northern First Nations and Inuit have relied on caribou for their survival. The
animals play a central role in these cultures, not just economically, but socially and traditionally
as well. Regardless of the advances of modern society, caribou are
just as valuable today in northern communities. Caribou meat is
high in protein, low in fat and overall a healthier choice for communities
suffering from high levels of diabetes from too much junk food.
Imported store-bought food is expensive — estimates reveal
that switching from caribou to store-bought meat would cost northerners
millions of dollars. Economically, the caribou is used in various
traditional arts, crafts and clothing that contribute to tourism
revenue. Native groups also rely on caribou to pass down cultural
traditions such as the hunt — they treat the animals with
respect by taking only what is needed and wasting nothing.
Examples of how the entire caribou is used.
Shirts, hats, mitts, tents, blankets, parkas, mukluks, moccasins,
To count a herd as accurately as possible, they are tracked by radio collars. When the herds combine into a large group, they are photographed. The number of caribou counted in the photo is compared with the number of radio collars initially dispersed and an estimation is given through the ratio.