USA - Climate - Troubled Alaska
The caribou herds in the whole arctic region are dwindling in size, and global warming is the likely cause. The temperature in the arctic has risen twice as fast as the global average, and brings stress to the animals. Mosquitos, ticks and flies thrive in the warmer weather and makes life miserable for the caribou. The warmer weather also change the weather pattern. Abnormal freezing rain turns to black ice that cover the lichen, a major food source for the caribou, making it inaccessible. The spring also starts earlier, too early for the yet to be born calves. With the skewed seasons, their food sources are already withering when the pregnant cows arrive to the calving grounds.
According to CAFF, Conservation of Arctic Fauna and Flora, the world population of wild reindeer and caribou has dropped by a third since the 1990’s.
The caribou in this 2001 picture graze on the marshland next to the Trans Alaska pipeline in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. While many inuits embrace the oil exploration, native americans in nearby Arctic Village oppose any drilling for oil in the ANWR area outside Prudhoe Bay. Both the oil operations and the pipeline interfere with the Porcupine caribou migration path. The residents in Arctic Village are subsistence hunter-gatherers and highly dependent of the caribou.