Caribou are a member of the deer family and look a lot like their close relatives, the reindeer. They are the only members of the deer family in which both sexes grow antlers, though those of adult males are massive, while adult females have shorter, more slender and more irregular antlers. Both male and female caribou develop what is referred to as “velvet” on their antlers – an extra-soft layer of fur that they shed annually. Caribou migrate in large herds, and if they decide to cross a highway, it can take a long time to get where you want to go. While this is unusual, it is quite a spectacle.
Where to find them
Caribou live in the arctic tundra, mountain tundra and northern forests of Alaska. Caribou in Alaska are distributed in 32 herds that include over 950,000 individuals.
When to come
Caribou can be seen any time of the year – the question is where. Caribou are migratory and can move up to 50 miles per day. Caribou tend to use the same migration routes year after year, but they can abandon those routes in favor of new areas with more food.