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This week in the Arctic: Caribou, research and literature of the north

  • Author: Alaska News
  • Updated: September 28, 2016
  • Published February 19, 2016

Here are some of the stories from around the Arctic that we've been following this week:

An uncertain future for caribou

Earlier this week hunters in Deline, Northwest Territories, ended the Bluenose East caribou hunt early, after reaching a limit of 150 animals they'd earlier imposed on themselves. Deline isn't the only northern community grappling with how to handle traditional hunts as caribou herds across North America face an uncertain future. Alaska's once-massive Western Arctic herd is down significantly -- and perhaps no longer the state's largest. And even modest success stories, like the rebound of Canada's Peary herd, come with uncertainty. Climate change and roads could be among the factors contributing to the caribou's problems, but solutions are far from clear. Meanwhile, communities that depend on the caribou face the "unthinkable" prospect of a future in which most food is shipped in at great expense, and the hunt becomes a thing of the past: "It's very hard to even say that they might not recover," one man from a Northwest Territories tribal government told Arctic Deeply. "It's like anything, if you don't do it year by year, you lose the skill -- the place names, the stories that go with it, the passing on of history and tradition, all that goes with it."

Arctic research takes center stage

As the Arctic Science Summit Week, set to be held in Fairbanks early next month (along with the Arctic Observing Summit and a meeting of Arctic Council senior Arctic officials), draws closer, the topic of coordinating Arctic research is drawing attention. Arctic research institutions, working together under the umbrella of the International Arctic Science Committee plan to unveil an development-focused research collaboration agenda, reports Hydro International. Meanwhile, Iceland bids to make Akureyri the new home of the IASC, The Arctic Journal reports.

Further reading:

- Some 50 tourists became briefly stranded on ice in an Iceland lagoon Thursday, before being rescued.

-When British poet Nancy Campbell arrived in Greenland for a short writer-in-residence stint, she was dismayed not to find a poetic tradition to which she could contribute, writes Arctic Journal. But instead, she found something else.

- Poetry not your thing? The Guardian names its top 10 picks for Arctic novels. (Steer over there to check them out, then let us know what you think they missed).

-With polar bear-human run-ins becoming more common in Greenland, officials consider adding a bit more oomph -- specifically rubber bullets and pepper spray -- to the list of non-lethal deterrents they allow.

- Liberal Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau criticized his Conservative predecessor Stephen Harper's Arctic policy, writes an opinion columnist for the Ottawa Citizen. Now it's time for Liberals to unveil theirs.

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