In Our Backyard: Southern Mountain Caribou


If you go hiking through the Thompson Watershed, you may be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the southern mountain caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou). This population is threatened at the national level mainly due to industrial, commercial and recreational land use affecting caribou habitat.

Southern mountain caribou play an important role in the culture and history of Indigenous Peoples including spiritually, and as an important food source.

Southern mountain caribou rely on old-growth forests for survival, as these forests provide important habitat away from predators and provide their main food source, tree lichen. Caribou eat lichen year-round, but they especially depend on tree lichen during winter when snow cover prevents them from feeding on ground lichen. The Thompson-Nicola provides this critical habitat to these caribou in the winter when they need it most.