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Notes from DaVic Gallery: Tuktu, the caribou, is fundamental to the existence of the Inuit. Like its aquatic counterpart nattiq, the ringed seal, tuktu can be found almost anywhere in the Arctic where Inuit live. It is the mainstay of life for many of the mainland Inuit communities, and important as a source of both meat and warm.
Hunters pursuing caribou knew their habits intimately. If a hunter came upon a caribou on a summer evening, he would leave it until the following dawn, knowing that it would not move far in the dark, and that it would pause to feed before heading on again in the morning. By contrast, when the caribou were migrating, they tended to move rapidly during the cool hours of dawn and dusk, slowing down for the warmer parts of the day. During mosquito season, however, caribou act erratically, galloping off to try to escape the harassment of millions of insects. First they shake their tails, trying to swish the flies from their hindquarters, and then they kick their back legs, before bounding away to a new location, often a breezy hilltop with some snow patches left on it where the animals can keep cool.
Good guess this caribou is desperately trying to shake off the relentless mosquitoes from its body…