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Calving ranges for caribou

Caribou live under various climatic conditions through the year and the climatic conditions determine the accessibility and availability of forage plants. The species composition of the vegetation cover also depends on the climatic conditions and further on the soil properties. The vegetation cover therefore appears as a mosaic of various vegetation types. Caribou therefore move around in the terrain to select the optimal forage. This can force the caribou to migrate between winter ranges and summer ranges. In Greenland these migrations can be up to a hundred kilometres long between winter ranges near the coast and summer ranges near the inland ice while in North America such migration can be hundreds of kilometres.

One of the critical seasons for caribou populations is in the end of May when the pregnant cows after a winter with scarcity of forage bring up their new born calves. Calving usually takes place within specific calving ranges that are opsøgt year after year. Usually calving ranges are situated within the summer ranges. Calving ranges are very important for caribou. Here, the cows should have optimal forage and peace to bring up their calves

Knowledge of caribou calving ranges is an important element in management of caribou herds and as a background for environmental assessment of effects of mineral exploration and exploitation, tourism and similar activities on caribou populations.

The calving range for caribou in the Kangerlussuaq area and for caribou south of the Ameralik fjord are found in the inland close to the ice cap where the climate is continental and early snow free areas can be found.

Calving ranges are included in our database of areas important for wildlife.