Wildlife in the Northwest Territories

Wildlife in the Northwest Territories
It is surprising how many people believe that Canada is just one big ball of frozen snow. It is even more surprising to hear that some people are under the impression that it is so cold here, that even wildlife can not survive. This is of course is far from true, in fact the Northwest Territories is well known for its excellent hunting. Throughout Canada's great white north there are many different species of animals both on land and in the sea. I have put together for you a short list of animals that can be easily spotted in one of Canada's most Northern regions, the Northwest Territories.

Moose - There are an estimated 20,000 moose roaming around the Northwest Territories. You will find most of these near the Mackenzie Mountain area. According to NWToutfitters.com "The Mackenzie Mountains of Canada’s Northwest Territories provides some of the best locations to hunt the largest sub-species of North American moose." A moose is a herbivore, and can quite often been seen feeding in marshy areas which provide a feast of swampy grass. Their average height is about 6 to 7 feet (though in the Northwest Territories they are known for reaching heights well over this). Moose do not have many enemies their largest threat being wolves, but occasionally do get hunted by grizzly bears and black bears. This occurrence does not happen often as grizzly bears do not normally hunt a healthy moose and black bears generally hunt only calves (through the months of May-June). Moose are a very friendly creature and will not attack a human unless provoked or they feel threatened (you should always stay a safe distance away from bull moose during mating season).

Dall Sheep - Dall sheep can also be seen quite commonly around the Mackenzie Mountain area. There is a estimated 15,000 Dall Sheep in all of the Northwest Territories. Their coats range from white to light brown, and are distinguished by their curled horns. Each fall their horns stop growing causing a ring to form. These rings can often be used to find the sheep's age (like how you would count the rings of a tree). They love to spend time in mountain areas as they are fond for dry rugged landscapes and steep slopes. A ram (a male) on average weighs between 160 to 242 lbs, ews (female) come in at a smaller 110 to 150 lbs. These animals are much shorter then the moose at only 3-3 1/2 feet tall.

Wolf - Their coats can range from pure white to pure black (and can also contain a mixture of both). A white coat will allow the wolf to blend into the snow when stalking prey and will most commonly be seen in the Canada's northern areas.
The wolf is the largest member of the wild dog family and has a close relation to the husky breed of domestic dog. They feed on animals such as moose, bison, deer and even the snowshoe hare, and are known for attacking animals much larger then they. The wolf found in the Northwest Territories is different then other breeds as they do not have as much of a defined and protected territory, this is because are constantly traveling with the migration of the caribou. The wolf howls to communicate with its pack, find lost pups, signal locations when hunting and at times just for pleasure (like we sing in the shower). Hearing a pack of wolves "singing" can be quite beautiful and definitely something to remember. Wolves are not a solitary animal, they travel in packs with a population ranging up to 16 and in some cases have been found traveling in packs of over 30. There is an estimated 4000-5000 wolves in the Northwest Territories.

Barren-Ground Caribou - This sub-species of Caribou are mainly found in Canada's North, this species is a bit smaller then normal sized caribou coming in around 198 lbs (female) and 331 lbs (male). The Caribou usually travels in a pack that can reach numbers of over a thousand in population. The largest predator of the the Caribou is the wolf which will follow its packs for miles.

Elk - The elk feed mainly on plants, grass and twigs. The males have large antlers which is their main form of defence against predators, they shed these once a year normally after the rut. Elk are the second largest relative of the deer, even the smallest adult elk will be at least twice the size of full grown a mule deer. Elk are normally timid animals but during the rut males will become aggressive so take caution if you cross paths.

Some of the other creatures living in the Northwest Territories are the snowshoe hare, horned owl, arctic fox, and wolverine. These are just a few of the amazing creatures living in the Northwest Territories, in order to name them all I would need plenty more space and many more days. Canada is a great place to live filled with many of the most amazing animals that roam the earth.

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This content was written by Cavelle Natasha Layes. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Monika R. Martyn for details.