Caribou live in North America, Scandinavia and Russia throughout the mountain tundra, forests and arctic tundra. There are currently 5 million caribou in the entire world.
Caribou are members of the deer family and are the only kind of deer that grow antlers regardless of its gender. Male caribou are known as "bulls" while female caribou are known as "cows" with baby caribou being called "calves."
Europeans also call the caribou "reindeer" while Americans only call domesticated caribou "reindeer." To survive the rough snowy conditions, the caribou have huge dimpled hoofs that give them additional support. These hoofs also help them to power swim.
The caribou has to travel to find its food and is a herd animal. It will travel up to 400 miles when it searches for food in the summer and the winter. The animals are herbivores and eat plants such as mushrooms, lichens, willow leaves, sedges, small shrubs and tundra plants. Each summer the caribou will migrate north in order to find food. They survive in groups and will live up to 15 years, on average, in the wild.
Caribou are also endangered animals and are now listed as "threatened with extinction." The reason for their endangerment is loss of habitat, forest fragmentation and forest degradation. The poor health of the caribou population is one of the largest indicators that the boreal forest ecosystem needs help in order to survive.