Bull caribou carcasses found near Minto Lake
IQALUIT — A large number of large male bull caribou appear to have drowned while attempting to cross Minto Lake, 100 kilometres northeast of Umiujaq.
Biologists from Quebec’s wildlife service estimate that between 500 and 1000 caribou perished there. Based on observations of the dead animals’ antlers, biologists say that the drowning occurred during the rut period, sometime in the last week of October, 1998.
“Surprisingly, 99 per cent of the dead caribou were adult males,” noted Quebec government biologist Serge Couturier in a prepared release. “Practically no females were observed. We do not believe that the absence of females is an indication that they survived, but rather that they were not present in the region at the time.”
This confirms an observation made by biologists concerning the isolation of males at the height of the rutting season.
Although caribou are excellent swimmers, they may be surprised by strong winds. In 1984, some 10,000 caribou died when crossing a dangerous section of the Caniapiscau River near Kuujjuaq.