Montana Public Radio


The Refuge E3: Listen To The People

Dec 17, 2019
Polar bear outside Kaktovik, Alaska
Nick Mott/Threshold / Nick Mott/Threshold

We continue our reporting from Kaktovik, Alaska—the only town within the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge—to find out how the conflict over drilling for oil in the refuge feels to the people who live there. 

In a little-known North American rainforest lives a reclusive animal more commonly associated with the Arctic. The mountain caribou exists on the edge of extinction—a dire situation that offers us the gift of understanding how we, as humans, affect even the most remote places on the planet and that our personal, political, and environmental choices matter. 

Caribou in Canada. Stock photo.

Canadian officials are relocating the last six resident caribou known in the Lower 48 from northern Idaho and Washington into British Columbia. At the same time, at least two different caribou have been spotted in northwestern Montana.

"It’s sad to see these numbers down to where they are, but that’s why just seeing two of them in Northwest Montana is pretty special," says Dillon Tabish, spokesperson for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.