Biologist bringing attention to Torngat caribou herd

A Labrador-based biologist is looking to learn more about a herd of caribou in the Torngat Mountains area.

A Labrador-based biologist is looking to learn more about the Torngat Mountains caribou herd.

The herd has received little attention compared to the endangered George River herd, which has declined drastically over the past 20 years. The George River herd's numbers are estimated at less than 30,000. 

Patricia Nash, wildlife and plants research manager with the Torngat Secretariat, said there has never been an actual count of the Torngat herd. 

Nash has been tracking the herd by helicopter.

"Sure enough, we were going over one of the really high peaks and the helicopter pilot said, 'Caribou tracks,' and we all went, 'What — it's impossible,'" said Nash.

"The pilot said to me, 'These things are mountain goats.' They were up on such high mountain peaks. They're incredible animals … so incredibly tough and rugged and strong."  

Nash said because there has never been a physical count of the Torngat herd, so its size is unknown. 

She has collared several of the caribou, and hopes to find out more about their habitat, behaviour and seasonal movements.

Nash said the Torngat herd is genetically similar to the George River caribou, however they are very different in size, shape and behaviour.

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