Defenders Magazine

Spring 2017

Volume 91, Issue 2


Landscape, © Design Pics Inc/Alamy Stock Photo

The battle to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from Big Oil begins anew Standing on a rocky, windblown perch at the edge of Alaska’s northernmost mountain range, I look across the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge’s vast green, undulating coastal plain. This is the calving grounds for one of North America’s last great caribou herds—those famed and far-ranging “nomads of the north.” Every year they thunder their way hundreds of miles in the continent’s longest land mammal migration spectacle. I have arrived late in the season so most of the Porcupine caribou herd have already headed south to their winter grounds. But I haven’t given up hope that thousands—or at least hundreds—of late-departing caribou might surge past me. Even in the caribou’s absence, however, the sense of their presence, their spirit, is overwhelming. Hoofed tracks mark soft ground. Clumps and tufts of brown and white hair hang from willow branches. Sun-bleached bones and antlers lie scattered on gravel bars, tundra wetlands and craggy limestone ridges. Hundreds of deep, rutted trails crisscross the lowlands and hills.


Arboreal Alligator Lizard, © Adam Clause
If you’ve never heard of tree-climbing alligator lizards, it’s not because you have your head in the clouds. In fact, it’s the secretive lizards that do.
Beluga Whales, Laura Morse/NOAA
With numbers dropping, new recovery plan provides help
Photo credit: Ann Froschauer/USFWS
Defenders launches Center for Conservation Innovation
Grizzly Bear, © Bill Keeting
A Quick Bear Story