Boreal Caribou walking through the bushes. Photo credit: Ann Gunn, ENR Boreal Caribou walking through the bushes. Photo credit: Ann Gunn, ENR

Highlight on a Species at Risk - Tǫdzı (Boreal Caribou)

This quarter’s highlight on a Species at Risk is Tǫdzı (boreal caribou). Tǫdzı differ from Ɂekwǫ̀ (barren-ground caribou) in several distinctive ways: their fur is darker in colour and they are larger in body, they have broader and thicker antlers, as well as longer legs and faces. Additionally, they look very much like Northern Mountain Caribou; however, their preferences for habitat, as well as their behaviour are quite different. In the NWT, they range from the top of the territory near Inuvik, and down into BC and Alberta on the left side of Great Slave Lake. Tǫdzı move in small groups and are forest dwellers all year long. They will spread out across their habitat during calving, typically in hard-to-reach places away from predators.

The reason that tǫdzı are considered a species at risk is because their numbers have declined significantly across their ranges in Canada. Here in the NWT, tǫdzı numbers are estimated between 6,000-7,000, and while numbers have been either stable or increasing in some areas, there is evidence that the population is declining in the south of the NWT, which is where most of the tǫdzı in the NWT are found.

Tǫdzı face many potential threats in the NWT, including disturbance, both natural and human to their habitat, which can increase the predators in their habitat; seismic lines, road construction and use, among other linear features; and climate change.

The current status rankings for tǫdzı are:

  • NWT List of Species at Risk: Threatened
  • NWT SARC Assessment: Threatened
  • Federal Species at Risk Act List: Threatened
  • COSEWIC Assessment: Threatened
  • NWT General Status Rank: At Risk

For more information on tǫdzı, or any other species at risk, check out NWT Species at Risk