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Thread: Albino caribou?

  1. #1
    Member Phish Finder's Avatar
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    Default Albino caribou?

    We ran into a big herd of caribou on the Denali highway a couple of days ago. One of the babies was quite a bit smaller than the rest and was solid white.

    We weren't close enough to see if the eyes were pink.

    Does anybody know if there are albino caribou?
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    Moderator kingfisherktn's Avatar
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    Great pics, thanks.

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    Feral Reindeer.

    Ive gotten a few, but they are getting more and more rare, as they breed out with the Caribou
    If you can't Kill it with a 30-06, you should Hide.

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    Member Phish Finder's Avatar
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    Thanks stranger. Sounds like a good theory to me.
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    certainly seems possible (reindeer genes) though not particularly probable, given that the parent would likely have been nearby and probably stood out as well, wouldn't you think? More likely seems like possible albinism as was suggested. This occurs rarely, but in perhaps all mammal species, and based on no further info I think albinism. It's been observed several times before, and a reindeer hybrid would account for the size but not for the coloration.

    google works wonders. http://pubs.aina.ucalgary.ca/arctic/Arctic32-4-374.pdf

    rather interesting, thanks for causing me to look further.

    according to the above lit (1979) only 3 caribou have been confirmed as definite albinos (based on eye color), so since you didn't see the eyes yours doesn't count for nothing. good excuse to go back. sacrifice in the name of science.

    there may be more recent scientific literature. if anyone happens on any then post a link or a synopsis here.

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    in the winter of '95-96. 38,000+ Domesticated Reindeer left the Seward pennensula with 330,000 of the Western Arctic Caribou Herd.
    Caribou have been tracked that wander to Canada from here, so a Reindeer couldnt do so as easily.

    The original Reindeer brought from Siberia didnt pan out as the Siberian herders realized ithat if they showed Reindeer herding to the American Eskimo, they were killing thier market for fasionable white and mottled white Reindeer skins that were traded over to the American side, since before white traders were operating from 1819 onward, up this way.
    The US gov tryed again with Norweigon Reindeer and Lapp Herders, many who stayed and married into local Kotzebue Sound Familys.
    Alot, if not most of these first Deer were white or mottled white, so that Eskimos would have an easier time recognizing them as Reindeer and therefore not huntable.
    Nowdayz, they put a big colorfull tag , to indicate domestic stock.

    I still see Green, Yellow, sometimes White "Tags" hanging from ears of some of the older Deer we come across in herds.
    If you can't Kill it with a 30-06, you should Hide.

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    Moderator bkmail's Avatar
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    I have some video of an all white caribou while flying around the Mulchatna herd about ten years ago.
    BK

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    As Stranger said, feral reindeer.

    In 1926-28 over a thousand reindeer were brought from Nome (Lomen Bros) to the Cantwell and Wells creek area, the local reindeer herders didn't adapt to herding for various reasons, primarily was the difficulty keeping the reindeer and caribou separate. After 4 years the reindeer mostly assimilated with the caribou.
    In the early 60's, it wasn't uncommon to see heavily 'spotted caribou', and occasionally some mostly whitish colored. Occasionally I still see one with a 'spot' or 2 on them.
    As far as a albino caribou, I think its possible.
    You was in the right place at the right time to see a rare sight !

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