Natures awesome migrations continue on silver coins with the Caribou

One of the best of the New Zealand Mints 2016 series of silver commemorative coins has been this series, Great Migrations. Looking at some of the most amazing mass movements of animals in the natural world, it’s a different and very cool take on the animal coin. As we’ve said before, we think animal behaviour is far more interesting than an animal portrait.

The first release depicted the mass migration of more than two million Zebras across the Serengeti, the second the countless numbers of Monarch butterflies across the North American continent. The third coin released today again looks at the large mammal world with the Caribou. While Caribou migrations don’t have the sheer numbers of those undertaken by the Zebra, the distances involved are incredible. The Zebra will go for a 500 mile wander; Caribou can exceed a mindblowing 3,000 miles. That’s far enough to wonder why they haven’t evolved wheels…

Design-wise it takes the same basic concept as those previously released and does it well. A mass of animals with a few picked out in colour just works. It’s struck in an ounce of fine silver, issued for Niue, and with the attractive themed poackaging that the mint is now using for other series like the fine Warriors of History range. Selling for $80, it  should be up for sale later today.



Some populations of the North American caribou, for example, many herds in the subspecies, the barren-ground caribou, and some woodland caribou in Ungava and Labrador, migrate the farthest of any terrestrial mammal, travelling up to 5,000 km (3,100 mi) a year, and covering 1,000,000 km2 (390,000 sq mi). Other North American populations, the woodland caribou (boreal) for example, are largely sedentary.  Smaller herds and island herds like R. t. pearsoni make the shortest migrations least.

Normally travelling about 19–55 km (12–34 mi) a day while migrating, the caribou can run at speeds of 60–80 km/h (37–50 mph). Young caribou can already outrun an Olympic sprinter when only a day old. During the spring migration smaller herds will group together to form larger herds of 50,000 to 500,000 animals. During autumn migrations groups become smaller and they begin to mate. During the winter, migratory herds travel to winter feeding grounds along coastlines in the tundra above the tree line. Below the tree line they shift to the forest for winter feeding. By spring, groups leave their winter grounds to go to the calving grounds. A caribou can swim easily and quickly, normally at 6.5 km/h (4.0 mph) but if necessary at 10 km/h (6.2 mph), and migrating herds will not hesitate to swim across a large lake or broad river.




$2 NEW ZEALAND 0.999 SILVER 31.1 g 40.0 mm PROOF  3,000 YES / YES