• Glen

The Lost Caribou of Nova Scotia

Caribou at one time lived and thrived in all parts of Nova Scotia.

This beautiful creature lived well up until around 1862. At this time record keepers started to notice a decline in the population of this species of deer, and by 1871 they were considered scarce.

A number of connected events led to the demise of the Caribou in this region. Actions such as that of Lord Dunraven and others had a grave effect on the population.


In the mid to late 1800s Lord Dunraven has been accused of instigating the Great Caribou Slaughter as it became known by.

The disregard for life displayed by Dunraven left large piles of bones for years to come. His native guides were left with the task during this time, of trying to burn the carcass and hide the evidence of his activities.

The story became so well known that for years later the area he hunted in received the name Dunraven Bog.


Fire also played a large part in the elimination of the Caribou herds in Nova Scotia. During the 17th and 18th century Nova Scotia was plagued with multiple forest fires. These fires destroyed the ground lichens and trees that the Caribou relied on.


With the growing popularity of Nova Scotia for the fishing and hunting adventures came the growth in population and industry.

Roads cutting off migration trails of Caribou, settlements popping up, and mills popping up had a serious affect on the Caribou population.

The last Caribou to be taken and reported on was in 1912 by Chief Game commissioner J.A. Knight. The animal harvest happened in Inverness County, Cape Breton on the headwaters of Cheticamp River.

Nova Scotia used to be a land of trout, Moose and Caribou. I'll take the time to look at all these other majestic creatures over the weeks and give a small look into what happened to the populations.

If I could travel back through time what is one thing I would do? Travel back to the turn of the 1700s in Nova Scotia to Digby County and explore the woods and lakes of a province I wouldn't recognize as my home of today.

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