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Caribou in the Northwest Territories

Did you know that the Northwest Territories has five different kinds of caribou, each adapted to its own unique environment? All five are species at risk.

Barren-ground Caribou: Barren-ground caribou are highly social and travel in large groups. Nine herds of caribou each migrate to their own traditional calving grounds on the tundra every spring.

Boreal Caribou: Boreal caribou are the “grey ghosts” of the boreal forest – secretive and rarely seen. They spread out in the woods to give birth alone.

Dolphin and Union Caribou: Dolphin and Union caribou must cross the sea ice twice a year, migrating to Victoria Island for the summer and the mainland for the winter.

Northern Mountain Caribou: Northern Mountain caribou move with the seasons up and down the Mackenzie Mountain slopes. They rest on alpine ice patches to escape the heat and bugs.

Peary Caribou: Peary caribou are small, pale caribou that live in the harsh treeless environment of the Arctic Islands. They graze on green plants and, unlike other caribou, rarely eat lichens.

How you can help caribou conservation in the NWT

  • Harvest responsibly and respectfully
  • Avoid damaging habitat when using ATVs, skidoos, and other off-road vehicles
  • Stick to trails when using off-road vehicles
  • Support actions to conserve and recover these species, including habitat protection and action on climate change
  • Inform yourself about the NWT's biodiversity
  • Do not illegally buy or sell caribou meat
  • Be fire safe
  • Clear campsites to avoid attracting predators

To learn more about how you can help with species in the NWT please visit our Stewardship page.

Five Antlers Ale

NWT Species at Risk (through the Conference of Management Authorities) and NWT Brewing Co. collaborated to develop Five Antlers Ale to raise awareness of Species at Risk in the Northwest Territories. For more information please visit

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Questions about species at risk in the NWT?

Contact the NWT Species at Risk Secretariat.

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