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Caribou on the Island of Newfoundland


There is a large population of Caribou, estimated at around 100,000 animals, on the island of Newfoundland. The Newfoundland caribou eat a variety of green plants; however, the mainstay of their diet, especially in winter, is the lichen that grows profusely on the large barren areas of the province.

The caribou is a migratory animal, moving from place to place according to the seasons and the availability of food. With few important predators  – except for humans (wolves are extinct in Newfoundland since the 1930's) – the caribou have multiplied. While not rare, they are not seen as frequently as the ubiquitous moose, unless one travels to the more remote and wilder areas of the province.

The caribou is an important symbol of Newfoundland. It was the symbol of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment and was used for the Newfoundland Memorial at Beaumont Hamel. There is a large, and beautiful, sculpture of a caribou in St. John's Bowring Park; this sculpture a replica of the monument of Beaumont Hamel stands atop a rock outcrop in a peaceful part of the park, surrounded by trees, near a gentle waterfall. The caribou was also used on several occasions on the postage stamps of Newfoundland.

Photo courtesy of Thomas Gollnik (Berlin, Germany)


© 2004 Claude Bélanger, Marianopolis College