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Arctic Wildlife

Thelon Wildlife Sanctuary

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Thelon Wildlife Sanctuary

The Thelon Game Sanctuary was created in 1927 in response to the dwindling numbers of muskoxen. No hunting and no mineral exploration has been permitted in the Thelon sanctuary for over 70 years and the ecosystem has evolved without interference.

The Thelon Wildlife Sanctuary is now home to nearly 2000 muskoxen and the highest number of Denning wolves north of the tree line. The Beverly caribou herd, now 300,000 strong, migrates across the Thelon river twice each year enroute to their calving grounds. This caribou migration is the largest movement of land mammals in the world. Tundra swans come during breeding time. Geese gather in huge numbers. Dozens of other bird species fly to the sanctuary to nest.

The river valley supports a remarkable diversity of plants. The Thelon Sanctuary maintains some plant species unique to the Arctic.

The Thelon Wildlife Sanctuary covers an area of 52,000 square kilometres in Canada's central tundra natural region.

Caribou Crossing -  photo Scott Schrader
Caribou Crossing the Thelon RiverThelon Oxen Family - photo Lonnie Brock
Muskoxen family at ThelonPicture of Peregrine Falcon
Peregrine Falcon at Thelon

Wolf with pups

Wolf with pups

The Rare Ptarmigan

Ptarmigan

Migrating Beverly Caribou
Migrating Beverly Caribou

Arctic Grayling
Arctic Grayling

Thelon Sanctuary Wildlife

The wildlife sanctuary is home to a wide variety of animals including:

  • Beverly Caribou
  • Barren-Ground Grizzly
  • Moose
  • Wolverine
  • Muskoxen
  • Denning wolves
  • Lynx

Bird watchers at the Thelon Sanctuary may find:

  • Peregrine Falcons
  • Ptarmigans
  • Tundra Swans
  • Gyrfalcon
  • Bald Eagles
  • Golden Eagles
  • Snowy Owls
  • Canada Geese (over 10,000)
  • Arctic Terns

Fish species in the Thelon Sanctuary area include:

  • Lake Trout
  • Arctic Grayling
  • Humpback Whitefish
  • Round Whitefish
  • Cisco
  • Burbot
  • Lake Chub
  • Slimy Sculpin
  • Spoonhead Sculpin
  • Longnose Sucker
  • Ninespine Stickleback
 

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