The Caribou, also called caribou in North America, is an arctic species of large deer with wide seasonal distribution, migratory, and semi-annual distribution in North America and parts of Asia. It is the largest white-colored deer in the world. It is prevalent in Canada, Alaska, USA, and some parts of Russia. It is considered a vulnerable flora and fauna due to loss of recent population increase. However, it has resilient capacity to recover and increase numbers if the right measures are implemented.
Causes: There is increasing evidence that suggests that the decline in winter snow leopards within certain areas of the past few decades may be caused by changing climate conditions. Owing to the warming climate, there is an increased probability of Caribou migration during summer and winter seasons. The increased chance of winter snow leopards is mainly attributed to warming winter temperatures combined with falling snowfalls, along with an expanding sea ice that makes it difficult for leopards to hunt and find their winter grounds.
Loss of Winter Snow Leopards can be offset through several ways: Through understanding the factors that influence Caribou movement, developing an understanding of the habitat, analyzing the snowfall patterns and volume, monitoring the status of herds, and creating an annual Status Update, which outlines how winter snow leopards are faring throughout the year. Among the factors that affect movement are seasonality, which affect migration; seasonality, which affect migration paths; habitat, which affect hunting opportunities and impacts on herds; seasonality and connectivity, which determine when Caribou migrate. For example, in southern Canada, spring and fall are the most favourable times for Caribou. In central Canada, migration activity usually picks up in late winter and early spring. Similarly, in the Baffin region in Canada’s Cape Breton Island, late winter is the best time to witness leopards. As such, if you wish to observe these beautiful animals in the wild, you need to know their typical behaviour and travel routes.
An in-depth study of snow leopards is required in order to track their movements and patterns so as to know their seasonal patterns and timing. Researchers have found that snow leopards mostly travel south in the winter to reach warmer climes. They also appear to follow large herds of caribou, especially during summer. However, in some areas and for specific reasons, snow leopards may move to the north and become resident, or even migrate all the way to Alaska. Leopards that follow caribou herds during the summer usually lose their hair; however, they will grow back in the spring.
If you plan to go to the circumpolar areas to observe these beautiful creatures, it is important to collect as much information about the surrounding environment, as well as the caribou you intend to observe. A research base station is an ideal location to conduct your research on snow leopards, as you can stay there without having to worry about the snow and the possible dangers that may surround the park. You will be provided with comfortable accommodations and food so that you can have a pleasant stay in this unique research site.
Snow leopards are classified as a vulnerable community because they are closely threatened by hunters. However, with the right knowledge, equipment and attitude, you can assist them in their quest to become one of the most popular wildlife species. In addition to helping them survive in their natural environment, you may also enjoy the rewarding experiences offered by living with these unique cats.