Caribou in Canada Across the country, caribou are struggling to survive in their ever-changing habitat. Facing
a modern world, they are losing the battle.
Video Gallery: Being Caribou
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In 2003, Canadians Karsten Heuer
and Lianne Allison grabbed their gear and set off to follow the Porcupine herd on foot in the
Yukon. Their goal: migrate with the herd to the traditional calving grounds
and learn how caribou survive in their habitat. Their intent was
to share their discoveries with all North Americans, particularly
those with an interest in drilling for oil in the calving grounds.
Heuer and Allison published their experience in a book and film
of the same name: Being Caribou (See excerpt in Canadian
2006). Their advocacy for the
protection of calving grounds remains important today as our energy-thirsty
continent continues to seek more sources of oil. Watch clips of
the film below.
Video clips from the film “Being Caribou”:
The Journey (clip 1)
Heuer and Allison begin their journey, departing with the caribou
into an area in danger of oil and gas development by the United
The Challenges (clip 2)
The couple faces unexpected challenges trying to keep up with
the herd. They quickly tire crossing the same rivers, mountains
and rough terrain as the caribou.
The Storm (clip 3)
With only the protection of a tent, Heuer, Allison and their replica doll of President
Bush brave an arctic blizzard while the caribou wander indifferently along the terrain.
The Border (clip 4)
Just over a month into their journey, they cross the border into
Alaska — an area marked for potential oil and gas development.
The Calves (clip 5)
The adventurers show the Bush figurine the amazing scene of herds calving across the
summer tundra. Cows are peacefully grazing and calves run wild, discovering their new legs.
The Disruption (clip 6)
Seeing the natural cycle of the caribou through the torment of blackflies,
Heuer and Allison question how much worse things would get with industrial development.
The Message (clip 7)
In Washington D.C., Karsten and Leanne prepare to take their message to the United States Congress,
hoping to be met with acceptance of their cause — protecting the caribou.
Video courtesy of the National Film Board of Canada.
Buy the DVD, visit http://www.nfb.ca
To count a herd as accurately as possible, they are tracked by radio collars. When the herds combine into a large group, they are photographed. The number of caribou counted in the photo is compared with the number of radio collars initially dispersed and an estimation is given through the ratio.