Anchorage – State wildlife biologists are revising their population estimate of the Western Arctic Caribou Herd, saying now that the population has modestly decreased.
The Department of Fish and Game announced after a July 2009 census using photographs that the herd had increased from 377,000 to 401,000 animals.
Fish and Game officials now say further analysis estimates the count at 348,000 animals.
Biologist Jim Dau says the herd remains large and individual animals appear healthy. He says the revised estimate will not mean any immediate change in management or hunting.
The herd is Alaska’s largest and occupies the Northwest quarter of the state.
The department says the heritage and traditions of 40 subsistence-based communities have been shaped by the availability of caribou from the herd.