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Kaŋuġlu Tuttulu: Potential Impacts of Ikpikpuk Snow Geese on Teshekpuk Caribou Herd’s Insect Relief Habitat on the Teshekpuk Lake and Ikpikpuk River Delta

Authors: Kimberly Pikok*, University of Kansas
Topics: Polar Regions, Cultural Ecology, Animal Geographies
Keywords: Arctic, Animal Behavior
Session Type: Poster
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

The Arctic is the fastest-warming region in the world which causes severe and immediate changes of ecosystems, Inuit cultures, fauna disturbance, and landscape alterations. The Arctic is the forefront of climate change and must be thoroughly studied and observed in order to protect and preserve what is left of the Arctic’s ecosystem, cultural traditions, and abundance of wildlife. Understanding how animals behave in the changing Arctic will preserve subsistence hunting and potentially protect the wildlife from future habitat destruction. With increasing Arctic temperatures, Lesser Snow Geese may be forced to find new habitats and migration routes in order to properly forage, nest, and brood-rear. The fauna, vegetation, and ecosystems are at risk due to the destruction of habitat created by Lesser Snow Geese. The research focused on how the Teshekpuk Caribou herd’s insect relief habitats will be impacted by the increasing Ikpikpuk Lesser Snow Goose population. A comparative analysis was conducted between the literature from Canadian Arctic Lesser Snow Goose studies and North Slope Alaska snow goose studies. The research suggests that the rapid increase of Ikpikpuk Snow Geese alters Teshekpuk Caribou’s insect relief habitats by creating plots of barren-ground, the caribou’s preferred vegetation will become less abundant, water will dry up, and near-surface ground temperatures will rise, causing insect populations to increase.

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