Sunday, May 15th, 2005
Reindeer or Caribou?

Are these reindeer or caribou? Both are members of the same species, but reindeer are domesticated while caribou are not. I can tell them apart by looking at some of their physical attributes. Reindeer have shorter legs and are smaller than caribou. Reindeer also display much more variety of color, sometimes with pinto markings on their dark brown to whitish coats.

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Saturday, May 14th, 2005
Reindeer Grazing

Reindeer are not native to Alaska. In 1891, a Christian missionary imported sixteen Siberian reindeer to the Seward Peninsula and arranged for Lapp herders to come and teach reindeer herding to the Inupiat. The goal was to provide Native peoples a stable source of food as well as start them on a path to the cash economy through the sale of meat and hides. Today, independent Native herders raise about 25,000 reindeer in the vicinity of the Seward Peninsula. The most prized commodity of reindeer today are their antlers, which are sold to Asian buyers who ground them for use in traditional medicines and tonics.

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