Wild reindeer in continental US now extinct: report

Wild reindeer in the continental United States went extinct during the winter, according to a report in The Washington Post.

The Post reports the last known herd of wild reindeer, also referred to as caribou, was down to a single female this winter before wildlife managers in British Columbia, Canada, captured her to ensure her survival.

Ray Entz, director of wildlife and terrestrial resources for the Kalispel Tribe in Washington, told the Post the last caribou likely would not have survived had it not been captured.

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“It was the right move,” Entz said.

An animal census from 2019 found just three remaining caribou from the Selkirk herd, a subpopulation of wild caribou.

In 2009 there were nearly 50 of the caribou.

The Post reports the the overall caribou population is likely dwindling as human development and expansion takes over their natural habitat.

Caribou that used to inhabit northern New England and upper Midwest states such as Minnesota were slowly pushed more north in recent decades.

The last remaining Selkirk caribou that was captured was wearing a radio collar for better tracking and was transported to a pen in British Columbia.

Canadian wildlife managers plan to release the Selkirk caribou and three others held at the pen into a habitat populated by a nearby herd.