Peary Caribou

The present reduced state of Peary caribou (a small, white sub-species found only in West Greenland and Canada's arctic islands) is serious enough that a number of communities have limited and even banned their subsistence harvests of the species. The number of Peary caribou on Canada's arctic islands dropped from 26 000 in 1961 to 1000 by 1997, causing the sub-species to be classified as endangered in 1991. The decline of Peary caribou appears to have been caused by autumn rains that iced the winter food supply and crusted the snow cover, limiting access to forage. Also, annual snowfall in the western Canadian Arctic increased during the 1990s and the three heaviest snowfall winters coincided with Peary caribou numbers on Bathurst Island dropping from 3000 to an estimated 75 between 1994 and 1997.

Source & © ACIA Impacts of a Warming Arctic: Arctic Climate Impact Assessment  (2004),
 Key Finding #4, p.70

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