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REINDEER AND MOOSE

THE United States Congress, in 1892, at the instance of Dr. Sheldon Jackson, appropriated $240,500 to establish herds of reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) in Alaska. Twelve hundred and eighty r eindeer were imported before 1902, when the Russian government with-drew its permission to make shipments from its territory. More lately Dr. Grenfell has established herds in Labrador. Both herds are entirely successful in providing labour, transportation, skins and food for the more primitive people of Canada and Alaska. The native reindeer of Canada, comprising the woodland caribou (Rangifer caribou) and the barren-ground caribou (Rangifer arcticus) might produce a domestic animal of a type superior to its European cousin. In any event, the European reindeer might possibly be improved by crossing with the woodland caribou, which is stronger and larger.

 

 

The following interesting account of the introduction of reindeer to Canada was contr ibuted by R. H. Campbell, Director of the Forestry Branch, Department of the Interior.

THE REINDEER IN CANADA

"The earliest recorded attempt to domesticate reindeer on this continent is that of the United States government which, about 1892, imported a herd of Siberian deer to Alaska for that purpose. Several small herds have since been imported and, as the result of careful and intelligent handling, there are now some 15,000 domesticated reindeer in Alaska. The deer are used for pratically all the purposes for which domestic cattle may be used and are, in addition, very useful for transportation purposes.

"The problem of transportation is, aside from the

Transportation severity of the weather, the most serious with which in the Arctic

dwellers in the arctic regions have to deal. The cost

of grain and hay, neither of which is grown in any considerable quantity, precludes the use of horses or cattle for transportation purposes and, prior to the introduction of reindeer, dogs were used almost entirely. While Eskimo, or husky, dogs make excellent beasts of burden, their usefulness is seriously impaired by the necessity of hauling with them sufficient fish or other food for their own subsistence. As on long trips they can haul little, if any, load beyond their own food supply, this seriously limits the sphere of a dog's usefulness. Rein-deer, on the other hand, while quite as hardy as the best train dogs and


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