This situation was ideal," explains Mr. Kienzler, referring to the picture. Scientists Dorothy Cooley and Martin Kienzler of the Porcupine Caribou Herd Satellite Collar Project based in Yukon, Canada share the exciting job of capturing, collaring, and tracking the Porcupine Caribou herd in order to understand their migration patterns, population dynamics, and use of the land. The Porcupine Caribou Herd ranges across the northern Yukon, northeastern Alaska and the northwestern fringe of the Northwest Territories. This species was recently assessed as Threatened by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada, the national body designated by Canada’s Species At Risk Act. To monitor population, researchers try to conduct a census of the Porcupine Caribou herd every two years. Once the helicopter lands, three scientists begin their work. The Porcupine herd is one of the largest migratory caribou herds in North America. "We prefer to capture caribou in large flat open areas (such as frozen lakes) where the snow is deep. STATE OF ALASKA Walter . The most effective way to collect data and attach radio collars or satellite transmitters to the animals is to briefly catch them in a net. The population has declined steadily since 1989, when the herd reached 178,000 animals. The herd usually stays on the northern coastal plains of Alaska in the summer where they forage and bulk up for another winter. The Porcupine caribou or Grant's caribou (Rangifer tarandus granti) is a subspecies of the reindeer (or the caribou in North America) found in Alaska, United States, and Yukon and the Northwest Territories, Canada. “I have been closely tracking proposed developments in the refuge and their potential effect on … The Porcupine Caribou Harvest Management Plan outlines approaches for managing and tracking harvest of the herd, particularly along the highway corridor. Tracking caribou Collars deployed on barren-ground caribou in the Northwest Territories (NWT) are typically GPS/Argos units. A 16-foot square net with weights on four corners flies from the gun and falls overtop of the animal. Collars Help Researchers Collar transmissions can help … Drilling in the refuge has been fiercely opposed for decades. This means the herd is probably still declining since 2001. The Porcupine caribou herd range includes the Northwest Territories (NWT), Yukon and Alaska, with the calving grounds located along the Arctic coast in Alaska and Yukon. Most herds, however, are drawn to a specific calving area. Knowing the overall number of caribou, or the population, and how that number changes over time is important for managing the herd, particularly when it comes to harvest. Meanwhile the Porcupine caribou herd, a close second in size, reached a record high of 218,000 individuals. In Canada major barren-ground herds include the Porcupine caribou herd, Cape Bathurst herd, Bluenose West herd, Bluenose east herd, Bathurst herd, Ahiak herd, and the Dolphin Union herd. Josie seems most at home on the land. Porcupine caribou mother and calf, by Peter Mather Every year, the Porcupine caribou herd embarks on the longest land mammal migration in the world, covering over 2400 kilometers from the Northwest Territories, Yukon and into Alaska. Indigenous groups from Canada and the United States were concerned about the effects the oil and gas industry might have on the Porcupine barren-ground caribou herd (Rangifer tarandus granti), which passes between Alaska, Yukon and the Northwest Territories in its yearly migrations. Limited exploration of the portion of the coastal plain known as the "1002 area" indicated a potential for significant petroleum reserves, and the U.S. Congress is considering legislation to open the area for oil and gas development. Researchers try to maintain 100 conventional collars on Porcupine Caribou. Once the caribou have been located, they then go out with the helicopter. The Trump Administration has paved the way for an oil and lease sale in Alaska’s pristine Arctic National Wildlife Refuge scheduling a lease sale for Jan. 6, 2021, before the president … The herd has gone up and down in size over time, but it has always been an important part of the ecology of the Western Arctic. In mid-July, they begin their trip east towards the NWT and then eventually return south towards Dawson City. Signals of Spring students can investigate by studying the vegetation and rainfall maps and comparing them to where the caribou spend their summers. Top photo: The Porcupine caribou herd in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (photo by Peter Mather) Bottom photo: Mike Anderson of The Wilderness Society (photo provided) November 9 2017 Canada unites to protect the porcupine caribou herd. In addition to radio collars, twelve female (cow) caribou currently carry satellite transmitters. Satellite collars are much more convenient and easy to use; however they are very expensive so the researchers don't use as many of these tags. The Porcupine caribou herd crossing the Turner River. Population Estimate of the Dolphin and Union Caribou herd (Rangifer tarandus groenlandicus x pearyi) Coastal Survey, October 2018 and Demographic Indicators . Exactly when and where they go is impossible to predict. The collars are used to find the caribou each spring in order to keep track of the number of cows that successfully have calves. Fish and Wildlife Service, caribou from the Porcupine Caribou Herd migrate onto the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in northeast Alaska. Signals of Spring students know that animals wearing satellite tags can be tracked from satellites way above the Earth's surface. That's according to a photocensus compiled last summer by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Scientists involved in the Porcupine Caribou Herd Satellite Collar Project try to maintain between 60 and 100 radio collars, and 10 to 15 satellite collars. J. Hickel, Governor . The condition of individual animals, any diseases or outbreaks, and predators that kill caribou can all contribute to herd health. After calving, caribou of the PCH form ag-gregations of up to 90,000 animals, probably to reduce … The 197,000 member Porcupine caribou herd has such a connection with the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. This is the first time time in 20 years that herd numbers have trended upwards. The Porcupine caribou herd has a record high number of animals. It’s land that his people roamed for thousands of years before any Europeans had set foot on the shores of North America. The International Porcupine Caribou Agreement is important to Canada because First Nations in the Yukon and Northwest Territories rely on this caribou herd for sustenance. It is the safest situation for us and the caribou. The Porcupine caribou herd migrates annually between Canada and the United States. Signals of Spring students can track the caribou as the move across the highway. ... That makes the Porcupine caribou herd’s vitality all the more incredible, and protecting the herd even more critical. For thousands of years, the herd has been a source of food, clothing, tools and shelter for the Gwitchin and Inuvialuit peoples who inhabit this region. Recent field research by the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge found that survival is lower now than it was when the herd was increasing," explains Ms. Cooley. The Dophin and … First, the scientists hold the animal down, blindfold it, and then remove the net. To locate the animals, the scientists fly over the caribou winter range in a fixed-wing airplane to 'listen' for the radio collars' signals. Residents of Old Crow have been required to report their harvest of Porcupine caribou since 2010, when the Porcupine Caribou Harvest Management Plan (PCMB) was first implemented. Porcupine caribou range from their calving grounds in Alaska, through northern Yukon and then to their habitual winter grounds in the Northwest Territories. The number of caribou that cross the highway are a good indicator of how many animals will reach their calving grounds. Porcupine caribou and their calving grounds are invaluable to the culture and subsistence of the Gwich’in and Inuvialuit peoples. In order to try to understand the herd better, researchers monitor for changes in the herd’s size and composition. The Porcupine Caribou herd moves throughout 260,000 km2 of wilderness extending from Kaktovik, Alaska to Aklavik, NWT and south to Dawson City, Yukon. 1. The society began collecting observations of hunters and other community members about the size, and … We’re hunting the Porcupine Herd of Caribou in the Southern Slopes of the Brooks Range as they migrate to the Southern edge of their range for the winter months. Mr. Kienzler and his colleagues will set out for their next capture session during the week of March 13, 2007. The Gwich’in are caribou people, spread across 13 villages on the outskirts of the Porcupine caribou herd’s range, and they depend on the animals for their physical and cultural sustenance. Mr. Kienzler carefully aims the "net gun" to center on the caribou's shoulders and pulls the trigger. prise the Porcupine Caribou Herd (PCH) (Skoog 1968, Clough et al. The caribou spend the winter in the southern portions of their range, but exactly where they winter varies from year to year. The bulls separate from the cows when it is time for calves to be born! All partners with jurisdiction along the highway collaborate on communication materials to ensure the ethical and sustainable harvest of the herd. Photograph: Rex/Shutterstock. More cows than bulls (male caribou) carry radio collars and only cows are equipped with satellite transmitters. Each collar is GPS-enabled and collects and stores a GPS location at pre-determined intervals throughout the day. Ms. Cooley and her colleagues are interested in the relationship between climate change and caribou survival. Then, the researchers can take blood samples and measurements and place the satellite transmitter or radio collar around the animals' neck. Each year, the herd not only survives in this environment, but undertakes a 1,000-kilometre migration from their winter home in the valleys of the Richardson, Ogilvie, and/or Brooks Range mountains to their calving grounds on the … It shows that the Dophin and Union herd has declined to an estimated 4,105 in 2018, down from 17,000 in 2015. It was a revelation to … 1987). As the Porcupine Caribou migrate north to their wintering grounds, they cross Dempster Highway, a major landmark that snakes through the Artic wilderness. Arctic Caribou and Moose Contaminant Monitoring Program. However, now more cows are dying in the summer than in the winter. This 49 page (in English) report contains executive summaries in Inuktitut (both syllabics and western orthography). The late-evening sun, still high above the horizon, gleams through one of the windows in the community centre and casts a square of … Dempster Highway is often closed for a week in the spring to allow caribou to cross the highway safely. In 2013, when the most recent photocensus was completed, the herd had an estimated 197,000 caribou. She will be recaptured this March and her satellite transmitter will be replaced before the battery runs out. From the northern reaches of the Yukon and Northwest Territories, they make their way to the relative safety of Alaska’s coastal plain where, by late May, they calve and nurse the next generation. (Past data for caribou migrations and vegetation maps are available on the maps and data page.) There are lots of exciting things happening with the Porcupine Caribou. Background The Porcupine Caribou Herd is a population of barren ground caribou that ranges across northeastern Alaska, Yukon, and northwestern Northwest Territories, providing an important source of sustenance for user communities. Sometime around April, depending on the snow and weather conditions, the herd begins to move north towards their calving grounds - the area where the cows will have their calves. A 15':30" movie of a powerpoint presentation on the 2020 survey of the George River Caribou herd. The survey estimates the herd is up to 8,100 from 5,500 in 2018. Scientists Dorothy Cooley and Martin Kienzler of the Porcupine Caribou Herd Satellite Collar Project based in Yukon, Canada share the exciting job of capturing, collaring, and tracking the Porcupine Caribou herd in order to understand their migration patterns, population dynamics, and use of the land. … The "results' section starts about 7':47" in. The team's major priority is the safety of the caribou and the scientists. I was lucky to witness the herd’s migration in the Yukon in the summer of 2016. Over the preceding 5 seasons, this herd has passed right through our hunting area during this time period, with thousands of animals pouring right through our camps! Supported by. "Survival of adult female caribou is very important to population dynamics. Once the scientists identify the caribou that they are interested in capturing, the helicopter pilot tries to direct the group to a flat, open area that has deep, soft snow. National Aeronautics and Space Administration. It resembles the subspecies known as the barren-ground caribou (R. t. groenlandicus) and is sometimes included in it. The Porcupine Caribou Herd is part of the barren-ground caribou species found in Canada. Because they migrate to the tundra, both the Leaf River herd and George River herd are often included with the barren-ground caribou. The Porcupine Caribou herd is one of the largest migratory barren ground caribou herds in North America. FILE – In this undated file photo provided by the U.S. Keep your eye on the satellite tracking maps to investigate caribou migrations this season. The Porcupine Caribou herd is one of the largest migratory barren ground caribou herds in North America. This incredible journey takes them through what is still a significantly intact landscape of the Arctic. It is important to understand and monitor the overall health and survival rate of the herd. Last year, for the first time since 2003, the Western Arctic caribou herd—the state’s largest herd—grew, and by over 50,000 individuals. Porcupine Caribou Herd Like antlered gypsies, barren ground caribou are always on the move. In some other areas of the north, there may be a relationship between dryer summers and how well caribou survive. In order to try to understand the herd better, researchers monitor for changes in the herd’s size and composition. Porcupine Caribou were named for the Porcupine River that flows through their range. cpawsadmin Blog, BlogArcticRefuge Arctic Refuge, blog, Porcupine caribou, united. Cocoa is one of twelve caribou that currently carry satellite transmitters. We continue to monitor caribou movement to the northwest of Windy Pass using satellite collars and fixed-wing aircraft to help ensure the most up to date knowledge of herd movements is available. In past studies, more cows died in the winter than in the summer. They also keep an eye on natural factors that can affect caribou numbers, such as disease. While planning for their field work, they will use signals from the radio collars to identify where the majority of the herd is located. The herd has gone up and down in size over time, but it has always been an important part of the ecology of the Western Arctic. Government of Newfoundland and Labrador (2020) Usage: … Named for the major river within its range, the Porcupine Caribou … Most of the increase is thought to be due to a higher calving rate. Each year, the Porcupine caribou herd embarks on one of the longest migrations on earth. Cooperative monitoring and research on the herd is guided by two co-management boards in Canada and Alaska. The agreement coordinates conservation efforts by the two countries and ensures opportunities for customary and traditional uses … About this content. Scientists will continue to track Cocoa to learn about the herds' migration patterns and use of the land. They last peaked at 178,000 in 1989, which was followed by a drop to 123,000 in 2001. Canada unites to protect the porcupine caribou herd . Alaska’s caribou are having a moment. FACT SHEET: Porcupine Caribou They use the radio collars to find the herd at various times of the year, including during spring migration, calving, post-calving and during post-calving aggregation (during census years), sometimes during fall migration, and for late winter composition counts and collaring. The Porcupine caribou population has hit a record high of 218,000, according to a separate DFG release. The caribou steps into the net and falls in the soft snow. This probably has to do with the amount of vegetation available for the cows and calves to eat. 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