Protecting Caribou in Torngat Mountains National Park

26

Oh hi! I’m caribou living in Torngat Mountains National Park. I’ve seen fewer and fewer of my kind around these parts and I’m getting pretty worried. Solving the mystery of the missing caribou won’t be easy and it will take a team of animal saving heroes to get to the bottom of it!

Caribou Nakvak (c) Parks Canada, D. Whitaker, Torngat Mounatins National Park
Caribou Nakvak © Parks Canada, D. Whitaker, Torngat Mounatins National Park

First, let me tell you a bit about my home. The Torngat Mountains are found way up at the top of Labrador. We live here with a ton of other animals like Arctic hares, voles and even polar bears, along with many Inuit.

Torngat_Mountains_English_Map

In fact, our Inuit friends are some of the people we have to thank for getting this area turned into a national park in 2005. The park’s name actually comes from the Inuktitut word “Torngait” which means “place of spirits.” Partnering with the Government of Canada, Inuit wanted to figure out where the park should go and how big it should be. This not only allows all of us caribou to roam free, but it also protects the traditional Inuit way of life.

Southwest Arm (c) Parks Canada, D. Whitaker, Torngat Mounatins National Park
Southwest Arm © Parks Canada, D. Whitaker, Torngat Mounatins National Park

We’ve been living side by side with Inuit for as long as we can remember so they know a lot about us, like how we’re built for snow. We use our big wide hooves like shovels to dig through the snow to find lichen (our favourite food), and they also help us walk on top of the snow instead of sink in it. We also have special fur that keeps us warm in the winter, not to mention some pretty awesome antlers.

Caribou (c) Parks Canada, H. Wittenborn, Torngat Mountains National Park
Caribou © Parks Canada, H. Wittenborn, Torngat Mountains National Park

But this information is something you can find out without ever seeing a caribou. Inuit know even more about caribou because they’ve not only seen us, they’ve lived with us for generations. That’s why I’m so happy that the scientists and Inuit are working together to find what’s happening to caribou like me!

Man and park (c) Parks Canada, Torngat Mountains National Park
Man and park © Parks Canada, Torngat Mountains National Park

Right now, Inuit know much more about my herd than herd than scientists do, so the scientists are listening closely. They’re learning about the places that caribou like me live, how we act, where we might have moved and how healthy we are. By bringing Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge (ATK), like the knowledge held by Inuit, together with Western science, they will hopefully be able to help keep us caribou healthy and around for a long time.

To learn more about ATK and how it’s helping to protect animals, accept the ATK in Action Mission. Plus, you’ll also be able to do an awesome craft, which I can’t do because I don’t have fingers.

ATK-accept_mission_button

Well I should get back to eating. Oh no…what did I step in? I better take care of this. See you next time!

Ivitak Caribou (c) Parks Canada, D. Whitaker, Torngat Mounatins National Park
Ivitak Caribou © Parks Canada, D. Whitaker, Torngat Mounatins National Park

26 COMMENTS