The boreal forest habitat, also known as the Taiga forest, is commonly found in parts of Russia, Canada, Alaska and northern parts of Europe. Its distinguishing characteristic is the presence of coniferous trees. Its climate is quite harsh with its temperatures ranging from cold to moderately warm during the summers. Even though the climate can be quite harsh for human settlement, the boreal forests of the world have experienced encroaching human activities that have threatened to disrupt their ecological balance.
This forest features a diverse range of animal species, from birds to mammals. Among these is a widely rare species of animals that you can only find within this forest.
Here are some of the rarest species inhabiting the boreal forest.
1. Boreal Woodland Caribou
The boreal woodland caribou is iconic to Canadians given its appearance on their 25-cent piece ever since 1926. These woodland caribous are the largest in the caribou family and are uniquely distinguished by their flat-beamed antlers. They are more widely dispersed than the normal barren ground caribous, and scarcely migrate with changing seasons. Due to encroaching human activity in the boreal forests, these species have been declared locally extinct in some Canadian provinces. As a result, the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada has labeled it as ‘threatened.’ (see Top 10 Endangered Animals in Arctic Tundra Region)
2. Grizzly Bear
The grizzly is an amazing sight to behold in this tree-filled habitat, with some being as large as 390kg. They mainly eat vegetation, small mammals, fish, and insects. In some boreal forests, they are predators to the moose, elk, and the reindeer. Grizzly bears have for a long time experienced conflict with humans because of human encroachment on their territory.
The wolverine is an omnivorous animal located in the boreal regions of Scandinavia, North America, and Siberia. Also known as the skunk bear, is is mainly a scavenger which can also prey on larger animals like deer or moose. It is of average length, with the males reaching lengths of 1m and the females reaching lengths of 0.8m. Due to its large nature and robust build, its only threat to survival comes from bears, wolves and humans.
4. Siberian Tiger
The Siberian tiger is a member of the cat family and inhabits the boreal forests of Russia. They are largely rare due to their small population worldwide. For Siberian tigers to survive, they need to hunt large animals like elk, reindeer, and moose and in some cases boars. They also eat smaller prey like fish and rabbits whenever an opportunity presents itself. Siberian tigers have experienced challenging times. It has been over hunted, and at some point, there were only 50 such tigers in the boreal region of Russia. You can find other members of the cat family in savannah regions.