Foes: Natural Predators in the Wilderness
in all of nature the food chain prevails. Animals in the wild must
eat and be eaten for natural life cycles to continue. Whether plants
or animals, each creature is reliant on part of the food chain to survive.
bear and caribou carcass
credit Being Caribou
caribou are herbivores; they rely on plants (sometimes called "biomass" by
scientists) as the food that sustains them. Just as plants are necessary
for caribou to live, there are animals who are carnivors (meat eaters)
or omnivores (eat both plants and meat) that rely on the caribou for
their sustanence. And as you will find out, there are some "micro-predators," really
tiny animals - insects - that also are involved.
season the caribou face their foes. As the colder winter arrives the
caribou leave the coastal plain heading south into the shelter of the
mountain ranges. The grizzlies will be hybernating and offer no threat.
As temperatures warm up and the caribou migrate back north to the calving
grounds in the coastal region of their range things become more trecherous
as there are many hungry predators waiting for them.
Are These Foes?
eagles who are non-nesting sub-adults are the most important predator
of the calves on the calving grounds.They kill the calves with their
can be an important predator of adult caribou in the winter.
bears are found on both the summer and winter ranges of the Porcupine
are capable of killing a newborn calf or a cow giving birth. They
also will take a sick or dying caribou.
insects are often called "micro-predators." Both mosquitoes
and black flies bite persistantly and can prevent caribou from feeding,
calves from nursing and even cause injuries by caribou rushing wildly
can also make life miserable for humans!
credit Allison Heuer
ravens, owls,haegars and hawks are other carrion eaters or scavengers
that feed on caribou kills.
peoples have relied on caribou for centuries to supply them with
the food they need to survive. Respect for strict hunting laws allow
them to manage the herd.
kinds of advantages do the caribou have over their predators?
though the coastal plain is home to many of the caribou predators
it also offers some advantages for them. What would the coastal plain
offer in the way of protection?