It might not deliver holiday presents or light up the sky, but Rangifer tarandus caribou is fleet-footed, hardy, and—according to kids and conservationists alike—worthy of our support. The “real” reindeer, AKA woodland caribou, call home to boreal forests of northern Ontario, and they are in trouble. Over the past 150 years, their numbers have declined by 40 percent due to industrial development of the boreal forest. Climate change and increasing pressure to develop this region has put the species at even greater risk.

To help save them, WCS and Earth Rangers—a Canadian conservation group that works directly with children and families—have teamed up. Their campaign, called “Bring Back the Wild – Save the Real Reindeer,” will help fund WCS’s ongoing efforts to safeguard caribou from mining and other development issues in northern Ontario’s “Ring of Fire” region.

“Woodland caribou are among the world’s most beloved species, particularly this time of year,” said Justina Ray, Director of WCS Canada. “WCS is delighted to team up with Earth Rangers to engage kids to protect this living symbol of the holidays—and of northern wilderness.”

WCS conducts ongoing aerial surveys of the boreal forest to identify important caribou areas and assess threats, and works on the ground to find solutions to protect this important habitat.

To learn more about the campaign, click here.