Monday, July 30, 2007

Woodland Caribou on Trepassey Barrens

Several years ago the the southern Avalon Peninsula supported one of the largest Woodland Caribou herds on the island. Alas, today, the herd, once numbering 5000 strong, has been reduced to a few hundred animals because of parasites and coyote predation. Yesterday, I was able to approach a small group of twenty of these magnificent creatures. Caribou are naturally curious animals with a keen sense of hearing and smell but their vision is poor. As you slowly and carefully get closer, they will move off. Younger caribou will often approach you. These caribou stayed about a kilometer from the road but I was able to find myself in the middle of the herd enjoying and photographing these beautiful animals.


Helen O'Neil said...

In 1994 I visited Newfoundland. My father was from Fermeuse, his mother from Ferryland and my other grandparents were from Conception Bay. One day when leaving Fermeuse I went to Renews, to watch the sea shore and then continued south, having zero idea where I was going. The sign TREPASSY caught my eye; I headed in that direction. If I remember correctly, to my right of the main road stretched the barrens, as desolate a place as anyone could imagine. There was not a soul on the road except for me, until a baby caribou clopped by. ( I assumed it was a baby but I don't know for sure. No antlers, which I've since learned might have indicated a female) I got out of the car and followed along, speaking to her, asking where her herd was. She made eye contact and let me accompany her for a bit, and then sped up, continuing on her way south. I've often wondered if she found her herd. I hoped they were waiting for her, maybe just around the next bend in the road.

Unknown said...

My sister Helen Oneil's comment inspired me to respond with my 2 cents. In the early 1970's i visited Newfoundland with my parents - Dad's people were from Fermuse and Mom's from Carbonier. We spent 10 days travelling around "God's Country." When we stopped at Admiral's Cove my father got to view again the one-room school house he attended as a boy. We were treated with the thrill of actually seeing the home his father built. One day shy of a week, we drove from Fermuse over to Carbonier, through the most idyllic locations including Heart's Content and Heart's Desire, before arriving and spending 4 nights in Carbonier. We happily remained with the Budden family at their homey B&B for the remainder of our visit. The first day there Dad and i got to hike up and down some lovely, hilly terrain. While hiking most of our conversation reflected on how special and magical it seemed to be in Newfoundland where "..time seems to have stood still." How magical and charming from this cidy-dwellers perspective is how I've thought of this time all these years later. Growing up my father would share stories about his favorite fruit - blueberries - but he would also mention that Newfoundland blueberries were better than any. Mrs. Budden accommodated Dad's blue-fantasy in a big way, with her own homemade pie. At our first dinner with the Budden's, Dad (who was typically a moderate eater) at one entire blueberry pie! Fortunately for the rest of us Mrs. Buden had made two.