Is that a Reindeer!? Rare Montana Sighting of Disappearing Species
It appears Santa Clause may have visited Montana a little early this year. Some have reported seeing what look like reindeer according to Montana FWP spokesman Dillon Tabish.
“It is just as exciting if we had seen one of Santa’s reindeer,” Tabish said. “We have had multiple sightings of caribou up here in northwest Montana. Reindeer and caribou are the same species, but there are some pretty big differences between the two. They look very similar. You look at them and they look like Rudolph. It is pretty exciting to have these sightings. Caribou used to be native to northwest Montana, but they have almost completely disappeared.”
There are thought to be no more caribou in the continental United States, though some are seen in Washington, Idaho, and Montana from time to time when they stroll down from Canada.
“Occurrences have been really rare,” Tabish said. “This is the first confirmed sighting of caribou in Montana since 2012. It was almost a decade. We have only had two, a bull and a cow, seen in Montana. The herds in southern DC are down to single digits unfortunately. There are six to ten estimated to be left is all.”
Both Washington and Idaho believe they have no caribou populations at this time, so the two caribou spotted in Montana are very possible the last caribou in the U.S.