Sunday, July 13, 2008

Just How Does Human Contact Effect The Caribou?

From Faultline USA:

Contrary to the popular fiction, tells us that the caribou population the Prudhoe Bay oil field has increased by over 900% and yet caribou in ANWR with no human contact other than Gwich'in Indian hunting have plummeted by over a third. asks: Do the Caribou Really Care?

Are caribou affected by oil development on the North Slope? It would appear not, based on scientists' observations. The Central Arctic Herd, which uses the area around Prudhoe Bay, has tripled in population since oil development started in the early 1970's.
Please note that it is that did not capitalize the "C" in caribou. I am not being disrespectful. explains the caribou conundrum:

The 1.5 million-acre tract accounts for just 8 percent of the 19 million-acre Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. And rather than the calendar art of the last frontier, the land at issue is a flat, boggy, treeless place where temperatures can drop as low s 40 degrees below zero. The place, therefore, is virtually uninhabitable by animals most of the year.
Former U.S. Secretary of the Interior, Gale Norton, testified at Congress recently and got down to actual numbers:
The Central Arctic Herd is the caribou herd in the North Slope whose range includes the Prudhoe oilfields. Their numbers have increased from 5,000 in 1977, at the beginning of oil development, to 27,000 in 2000. Alaska Fish and Game has published the most recent census showing the population is now more than 31,000.

Read the rest at the link.

The Caribou that are secluded from human contact have been decreasing , while the ones around the oil fields have increased dramatically.


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