Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
AK PENINSULA: Caribou Decline Prompts Study
Alaska Region, October 20, 2005
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The northern Alaska Peninsula caribou herd has declined by approximately 88% since 1993.  A study was started in the Spring of 2005 to see how nutrition, disease and predation influence calf production and survival. The survival rate is approximately 43% during a calf's first two weeks of life, about the same as other herds. However, after the first two weeks calf survival is 40-60% lower than rates reported for other herds in Alaska.  The primary cause of mortality is predation. In addition, a preliminary look at the data indicates that heavy parasite burdens and infectious disease exposure was detected in each of the eight calves and three adults examined. The initial findings of this study indicate that caribou calves may not be developing at a rate sufficient to decrease their vulnerability to predation. This study will continue and the project will be expanded to address the above findings.

Contact Info: Kristen Gilbert, 907-786-3391, Kristen_Gilbert@fws.gov
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