CARIBOU, kiir'i-bog (Canadian Fr., Amer. Indian). A French-Canadian name for the Ameri can forms of the reindeer, regarded by most zo ologists as varieties of the European Rangifer tarandus. (See REINDEER.) Two pretty distinct forms exist, the common woodland variety (Rangifer caribou) and the barren-ground va riety (Rangifer Grrrnlandicus). The former is found throughout the forested region of northern America, where it formerly extended as far south as Connecticut, Pennsylvania. and Colorado, but since the middle of the Nineteenth Century ex tends south of Canada only in Maine. Michigan, and the Rocky Mountains. (See Plate DEER OF NORTH AMERICA.) It ranges the woods and swamps, is especially numerous in Newfoundland, Labrador, and British Columbia; and in winter gathers into herds of several hundred, which are able to traverse the snow upon their broad and hairy hoofs, and find an abundance of food in leaves and berries (especially cranberries) Jichens, etc. In the summer they move about a great deal to escape the flies and at all seasons are the prin cipal dependence of many Indians. Three local
varieties of this caribou are noted. so variable is it in size and color; but it presents little distinction from the Old World reindeer except in the ant lers. where the brow-tines are very unequally developed.
The barren-ground caribou is a smaller and paler form, with disproportionately large ant lers, which occupies the open country north of the tree-growth and the coastal valleys of Green land, to an extreme distance north. it is named Rangifer tirormlandicus, and is regarded as hav ing a better claim to independent specific rank than any other American form. It is to be found in vast herds in the desolate plains between I :reat Slave Lake and Hudson Bay. where it subsists upon lichens, and migrates southward in fall to the margin of the forest, returning northward each spring. The Indians and Eskimo gather about these migrations and obtain a winter's supply of meat and skins. Consult: Shields, Big lame of North Americo (Chicago. 1890) : Roose velt (et al.), The Deer Family (New York, 1902).