The Selkup live today in two separate areas as a result of relocation programs between 1930-50. Numbering just under 4500, most live along the Ob, Tym, Vasyugan, Ket and Parabel rivers.

Traditionally, reindeer have played an important part in their culture, as Selkup were well known for their breeding of draught animals. They were more sedentary than nearby Nenets and Enets and their territory has been settled by Russians since the 19th century, whose hunting of their domesticated animals has been mentioned as a reason for their decline.