| The reindeer, known as caribou when wild in North America, is an Arctic and Subarctic-dwelling deer (Rangifer tarandus). The reindeer is distributed throughout a number of northern locales. Reindeer are found throughout Norway and Iceland and the northern parts of Sweden and Finland; at Spitsbergen; in European parts of Russia including Northern Russia and Novaya Zemlya; in the Asian parts of Russia, to the Pacific Ocean; in North America (where it is called the caribou) on Greenland, Canada and Alaska. In 1952 reindeer were re-introduced to Scotland, as the natural stock had become extinct in the 10th century.|
Woodland Caribou (R. tarandus caribou), or forest caribou, once found in the North American boreal forests from Alaska to Newfoundland and as far south as New England and Washington. Woodland Caribou have disappeared from most of their original southern range and are considered "threatened" where they remain, with the notable exception of the Migratory Woodland Caribou of northern Quebec and Labrador, Canada.
The name of the Cariboo district of central British Columbia relates to their once-large numbers there, but they have almost vanished from that area in the last century. A herd is protected in the Caribou Mountains in Alberta.
Arctic reindeer (R. tarandus eogroenlandicus), an extinct subspecies found until 1900 in eastern Greenland.
Finnish Forest Reindeer (R. tarandus fennicus), found in the wild in only two areas of the Fennoscandia peninsula of Northern Europe, in Finnish/Russian Karelia, and a small population in central south Finland. The Karelia population reaches far into Russia, however, so far that it remains an open question whether reindeer further to the east are R. t. fennicus as well.
Grant's Caribou (R. tarandus granti) which are found in Alaska and the Yukon and Northwest territories of Canada.
Barren-ground Caribou (R. tarandus groenlandicus), found in the Nunavut and Northwest territories of Canada and in western Greenland.
Peary Caribou (R. tarandus pearyi), found in the northern islands of the Nunavut and Northwest territories of Canada.
Svalbard Reindeer (R. tarandus platyrhynchus), found on the Svalbard islands of Norway, is the smallest subspecies of reindeer.
Mountain/Wild Reindeer (R. tarandus tarandus), found in the Arctic tundra of Eurasia and North America, including the Fennoscandia peninsula of Northern Europe.
Queen Charlotte Islands caribou (R. tarandus dawsoni) is an extinct animal.
In the wild, most caribou migrate in large herds between their birthing habitat and their winter habitat. Their wide hooves help the animals move through snow and tundra; they also help propel the animal when it swims. About 1 million live in Alaska, and a comparable number live in northern Canada.
Natural threats to caribou include avalanches and predators such as wolves, wolverines, lynxes, and bears. Golden eagles may be seen to kill calves up to 1/2 year by using their claws to puncture their lungs. Ravens can indirectly kill caribou calves by blinding them (eating their eyes).
In Canada, the woodland caribou is under threat from extensive logging operations. Because the caribou need the boreal forest to survive, the destruction and little protection of this habitat put this animal at risk of extinction. Logging and logging roads also attract deer and moose, which brings in predators such as hunters, wolves and bears.
Wild caribou are still hunted in North America and Greenland. In the traditional lifestyle of the Inuit people, Northern First Nations people, Alaska Natives, and Greenlandic Eskimos, the caribou is a source of food, clothing, shelter and tools.
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