Abundance and movements of caribou in the oilfield complex near Prudhoe Bay, Alaska

  • R.D. Cameron Alaska Department of Fish and Game, 1300 College Road, Fairbanks, AK 99701-1599 U.S.A.
  • E.A. Lenart
  • D.J. Reed
  • K.R. Whitten
  • W.T. Smith
Keywords: Arctic, disturbance, pipeline, Rangifer tarandus, caribou, oilfield, Prudhoe Bay, Alaska


We examined the distribution and movements of 141 radiocollared female caribou (Rangifer tarandus granti) of the Central Arctic Herd during summer, 1980-1993. Numbers of caribou locations within each of 5 quadrats along the arctic coast were totalled separately for days during which insects were active and inactive, and numbers of east-west and west-east crossings of each quadrat mid-line were determined from sequential observations. Both abundance and lateral movements of radiocollared females in the quadrat encompassing the intensively-developed Prudhoe Bay oilfield complex were significantly lower than in other quadrats (P < 0.001 and P < 0.00001, respectively). Avoidance of, and fewer movements within, the complex by female caribou are ostensibly in response to the dense network of production and support facilities, roads, above-ground pipelines, and the associated vehicular and human activity. Impaired access to this area constitutes a functional loss of habitat.
How to Cite
Cameron, R., Lenart, E., Reed, D., Whitten, K., & Smith, W. (1995). Abundance and movements of caribou in the oilfield complex near Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. Rangifer, 15(1), 3-7. https://doi.org/10.7557/