Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Caribou Beings

The last large mammal migration in North America takes place in the northern-most reaches of the continent where caribou travel across snow and tundra to their calving grounds near the Arctic sea. Beginning in early April, 2003, Karsten Heuer and Leanne Allison followed the 123,000-member Porcupine Herd from near Old Crow, Yukon where the herd winters to the calving grounds in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge's twenty-five mile wide coatal grasslands on the edge of the Arctic sea. They returned to with the herd to the wintering grounds in early September. Theirs is a powerful and compelling tale.

The two have a book and film about their 1500 km journey, and a website, Being Caribou, with additional information about their insights into the lives of these incredible beings. Karsten, trained as a scientist, was interviewed on the KGNU program "How on Earth"; you'll need to pick the 2005-12-20 program, pick your format and fast forward through Jim Hightower.

There's also an animation of the herd's movements during the 2003 season from the Journey North site. Anyone needing a refresher course on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge can check out the archives Fish and Wildlife Service site "Potential Impacts of Proposed Oil and Gas Development on the Arctic Refuge's Coastal Plain."

And let's not forget about the endangered ice worms which are of keen interest to astro-biologists.

Photo Alaska Fish & Wildlife

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