Tuktu (Barren Ground Caribou)

Tuktu are central to the Yukon North Slope ecosystem in so many ways, including the culture and traditions of Inuvialuit. With their incredible migration, they bring nutrients and life to the landscape, feeding everything from grasses and shrubs to larger predators, such as wolves and grizzly bears. 

Our Council is responsible for advising on wildlife, habitat, and planning matters on the Yukon North Slope, but we are also tasked, more specifically, with providing advice to the Porcupine Caribou Management Board. Much of our work is focused on this special herd.

Home of the Caribou

The Porcupine Caribou Herd relies on the Yukon North Slope throughout the year. While the important calving season often takes place over the border in Alaska, the herd occasionally gathers on the Canadian North Slope to give birth to the next generation of caribou. The summer months are also important here. To find out why, check out our infographic! 


Caribou Knowledge

One of our Council's studies looked at the traditional knowledge of Aklavik Inuvialuit regarding the Porcupine Caribou Herd. The knowledge documented covered many topics including:

  • Distribution, Habitat, and Movements  
  • Demographics and Health 
  • Hunting, Preparation and Use 
  • Future of the Porcupine Caribou

Aklavik Caribou Study

Caribou Lands

Our Council has also recently completed the Inuvialuit Traditional Knowledge of Wildlife Habitat, Yukon North Slope study. This work provides valuable insight into existing and future habitat needs for Porcupine caribou in our region, along with the habitat requirements of several other focal species.

The results provided maps showing density of use, according to traditional knowledge, during each season, as well as descriptions of habitat preferences. This knowledge will inform future management decisions, including the latest version of the Yukon North Slope Wildlife Conservation and Management Plan.

Habitat Study

Respecting Tuktu

A relationship of respect for caribou is a central tenet:

“Even when there’s lots of caribou like that, the people, the user of the caribou they have respect for the caribou. They never throw anything away - they use every little thing.“ 

-Participant, Aklavik Local and Traditional Knowledge about Porcupine Caribou Study

What does a migrating caribou herd look like?

The Porcupine Caribou Herd moves through the Yukon North Slope as part of their annual migration. With their numbers now over 200,000 animals, this creates quite a site! Watch the video below to see what a week's worth of caribou movement looks like.

Get The Full Story

Head to our Resource Library to access the new Inuvialuit Traditional Knowledge of Wildlife Habitat report and the Porcupine Caribou Traditional Knowledge report, along with a broad range of other caribou resources.