Endangered Species: Caribou

A Christiansburg Elementary Project
Submitted by Emily at Christiansburg Elementary School
Christiansburg, VA, U.S.A.


Photographer Unknown

Why Study This Topic? What Was Already Known Search for Information Description of Plant or Animal Habitat Requirements
Adaptations Reasons for Endangerment Restoration Actions What Was Learned Conclusions from Research

Why Study This Topic?

  To do research about the caribou I need to learn about its surroundings like were it lives ,what it eats, if it travels in herds. There's a possibility the caribou lives on mountains or it could graze on flat grassy places. The caribou, like any other animal has to eat, the caribou might eat plants or other animals. The caribou could be a group animal or not. Also I might want to find out if the caribou is a very territorial animal.

What Was Already Known

  Before my research I knew that the caribou was another name for reindeer. I also knew the caribou was a French Canadian name meaning, wild reindeer of North America. I knew the female caribou is the only American deer with antlers. The male caribou's antlers grow much larger than the females.

Search for Information

  http://www-sunlab.cit.cornell.edu/Indo/People/jhamblin/caribou/home.html Field Enterprise Educational Corporation-The World Encyclopedia

Description of Plant or Animal

  My animal is massive. The caribou can grow up to 4 or 5 feet tall. The caribou is also very long, it can be up 6 or 8 feet long. Caribou are also known for their broad antlers and their cloven hooves. The caribou has a white stomach and light brown head, legs and back. The caribou have small ears beside the beginning of their antlers. The caribou is like a horse, sheep and cow put together.

Habitat Requirements

  During the summer the caribou spend their time in the tundra. In the winter, giant herds make their way to the evergreen forests, south of the tundra. Caribou may also be found from western Alaska to western Greenland. In the summer caribou eat mostly grass and leaves of willow dwarf birch and other shrubs. In the winter, they survive on mostly lichens and springs. The caribou, along with other animals, live in the swamp like plains. To show alarm, the male raises his tail. As a sign of caution it thrusts one of its hind legs to the side. Reindeer are normally smaller than the caribou.


  For years the caribou have been hunted by the northern Indian and the Eskimos for meat and to make soup out of the marrow. The Indian and Eskimos made tents out of the caribou's hide. Although the caribou does not hunt for itself, it eats mostly willow dwarf birch and other shrubs. The caribou are hunted by other humans to make tents, sleeping bags and other materials. The physical features are their broad antlers and their cloven hoofs. Also, the flab under the neck.

Reasons for Endangerment

  Caribou are hunted because their hide is used for many things such as tents, sleeping bags, food, and clothing. So everytime a caribou is killed that's one closer to extinction. The number of caribou has declined from 2 million in the 1900's to about a million today. The caribou were also hunted by the Northern Indians for shelter and food.

Restoration Actions

  Understanding the fact that caribou are endangered looking on the Web page it looks like no one has any intention of saving the caribou, all it talks about is the hunting and cooking recipes. It didn't talk about saving the caribou. Yet, there is hope. Attempts are under consideration to enhance and protect the caribou habitat. In the future, I think that no one should kill any caribou until the population increases.

What Was Learned

  I learned that the caribou travel in large herds. The number of caribou has declined from two million in the early 1900's to about a million today. The female caribou is the American deer with antlers and is the largest female deer. The male caribou antlers are much larger than those of the female. The animals furnish people with clothing, meat, milk, and shelter. The caribou has cloven hoofs and very large antlers. Unlike other Arctic animals, the caribou has a very thin coat of fur.

Conclusions From Research

  I liked the experience of learning new things about caribou. There were interesting facts in the encyclopedia, animal books, and our wonderful animal websites. I had the skills of knowing how to look up facts and of knowing how to use Internet addresses. There were three places in the encyclopedia: Caribou, Reindeer and Animals of Polar Regions. Up until now, I have never had the experience of doing a report on animals.


http://www-sunlab.cit.cornell.edu/Info/People/jhamblin/caribou/home.html Field Enterprise Educational Corporation. The World Book Encyclopedia Chaplin, Raymond E. (1977) Deer Berton, P. (1987) The Arctic Grail Banfield, A. W. (1961). A Revision of the Reindeer and Caribou Genus Rangerifer.

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Christiansburg Elementary
Last updated on March 9, 1998