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Here’s What It Looks Like When Thousands Of Reindeer Stream Across A Frozen River In Canada’s North
April 8, 2014
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Canada's North is home to many splendours, from the 100-plus inukshuk of Enusko Point to the majestic Aurora Borealis. Here's one you may not be familiar with: up in the Mackenzie Delta region of the Northwest Territories lives Canada's only free-range herd of reindeer. And each year, that herd crosses the Mackenzie River over the Inuvik-Tuktoyaktuk ice road, a journey captured and posted to YouTube by Inuvik resident Jackie Challis, embedded above.

Videographer David Stewart was also there, and posted this to Facebook:

 

As CBC North reports, the trip brings the 3,000-strong herd from their wintering grounds at Jimmy Lake to Richards Island, their calving grounds, about 90 kilometres away.

The crossing is an annual event in the region, drawing plenty of spectators, including Zoe Ho, who posted this photo on Facebook:

 

The reindeer were first brought to Canada in 1935 from Alaska as part of a strategy to introduce reindeer husbandry as a livelihood in the North. Sami herders, the indigenous Finno-Ugric people from Northern Europe, were brought over to help tend them, including William Seva, who's profiled in the documentary Tundra Cowboy:

The herd is now owned by a private company called Canadian Reindeer. It came to national attention in 2008 when herders lost track of the 3,000-plus animals, leading to fears that the semi-domesticated animals could begin to mix and breed with the wild caribou (reindeer and caribou are the same species, although the latter haven't been domesticated).

Via CBC North

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