Climate Change Could Be Influencing World’s Greatest Terrestrial Migrations – National Parks Traveler


Caribou crossing the Noatak River/NPS, Kyle JolyIt is a spectacle of the animal kingdom, one most of us don’t see in person, but are amazed when it is shown on television. “It” is the crossing of the Kobuk River far north in Alaska by hundreds of caribou. It is a swim caribou have been making in the landscape of present-day Kobuk Valley National Park and Preserve for thousands of years.

“I’m a very lucky person to have the job that I do and to see what I get to see,” admits Kyle Joly, a wildlife biologist for the National Park Service whose “office” embraces the landscapes of such places as Kobuk Valley, Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve, and Noatak National Preserve.

Kobuk Valley has been “the home of caribou migrations for 10,000 years. There’s an archaeological site there that’s dated hunting of caribou back that far,” Joly went on. “The river is probably a quarter-mile wide at that point, and there will be times when you have several hundred animals on the shore. You’ll have caribou nose-to-tail all the way across the river, and a couple hundred more piled up on the south bank. It’s definitely a wildlife spectacle that is on par with anything on the globe.”

That spectacle, of hundreds and even thousands of caribou traveling en masse, is a wonder of nature. It is also at times the longest migration on Earth, a claim that reindeer also can make.

“Most people don’t know this, but caribou and reindeer are actually the same species,” Joly said. “Caribou are found in North America and reindeer are found in Europe and Asia, but they’re the same species and they can interbreed freely. That species, both caribou and reindeer, have the longest terrestrial migrations on the planet, with a number of populations migrating 1200-1350 kilometers (745-839 miles) in a year.”

via Climate Change Could Be Influencing World’s Greatest Terrestrial Migrations

Isle Royale Wolf Project Researchers Document Summer Predation – Isle Royale National Park (U.S. National Park Service)

Two researchers kneel and sit around wolf scat recording information.

MICH– The National Park Service (NPS) in collaboration with the State University of New York – College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF) concluded summer predation monitoring by the wolves introduced to the Isle Royale ecosystem in the fall of 2018 and winter of 2019. This marks the first time wolf predation has been monitored on Isle Royale during snow-free periods. The monitoring effort utilized the most recent advances in the study of wolf predation patterns.

Park staff and research partners from SUNY-ESF used GPS data from collars on the introduced wolves to identify “clusters” of locations that signified areas where wolves spent extended periods of time. Between May and October, field crews visited 381 of these sites, determined wolf behavior associated with site use, and located the remains of 60 prey, including primarily moose, beavers, and snowshoe hares.
Read more  Isle Royale Wolf Project Researchers Document Summer Predation – Isle Royale National Park (U.S. National Park Service)

Montezuma County opposes plan to bring wolves to Colorado

The Montezuma County Board of County Commissioners has passed a resolution opposing any plan to reintroduce wolves into Colorado.

The resolution claims wolves would threaten livestock, big game hunting and household pets. It points out that efforts to reintroduce the gray wolf in the northern Rocky Mountains have met recovery goals, and federal recovery efforts to do not include Colorado.

The county’s statement is in response to proposed ballot Initiative 107, which would ask Colorado voters in the 2020 election to allow wolf reintroduction on the Western Slope.

The Restoration of Gray Wolves Initiative requires 124,632 signatures by Dec. 13 to make the ballot. The Rocky Mountain Wolf Action Fund, a primary backer, has reported it has enough signatures, according to statements made to the Montrose Daily Press.

via Montezuma County opposes plan to bring wolves to Colorado