By Co-Owner and Guide, Michael Wald
After a successful census it has been estimated that there are more than 400,000 caribou who make the Western Brooks Range their home.
This is great news for those of us who get to travel to places like the Kokolik River, which annually treats paddlers to 30,000 caribou-days. On one trip we saw both bears and wolves catching calves and watched tens of thousands of animal swim the river.
After several years of precipitous population declines in the mid- 2000’s when the herd went from almost 500,000 down to 377,000, many of us became worried that the herd was going to wither. But in 2009 the Alaska Department of Fish and Game conducted an aerial census of the herd and confirmed that the population is stable. This means that caribou outnumber people 10 to 1 in the western arctic.