Aug 20, 2020

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge: The animals at risk from Alaska oil drilling

The US government is pushing forward with controversial plans to allow drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, by laying out the terms of a leasing programme that would give oil companies access to the area. The wildlife refuge in north-eastern Alaska sits above billions of barrels of oil. "If you go up there in the spring it's crazy, every little puddle, even if it's just half a metre by half a metre... you can barely see the water, it's just covered in ducks and geese," she tells the BBC. She is particularly concerned about the impact sound levels from any drilling would have on animals in the refuge, as well as on the indigenous communities that live nearby. Conservationists also fear for the Porcupine caribou, a breed of North American reindeer which roams the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. "The herd travels north to the coastal plain every year, about 400 miles each way, and that's where they're having their babies. Any drilling is going to impact their lives drastically, as well as all the other animals and people who depend on that caribou."

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