We defend Wildlife

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the Western Arctic Reserve are vast landscapes that innumerable species of wildlife rely upon as a home. 

In fact: 

The lands and waters found in the Arctic Refuge supports the greatest variety of plant and animal life in the entire circumpolar north. It is one of our nation’s most majestic places, serving as the vital calving grounds to the Porcupine Caribou Herd, imperiled polar bears, spawning streams for Dolly Varden, Arctic Char and other valued fish species, wolves, muskoxen, Dall sheep, arctic foxes, and nearly 200 species of migratory birds that migrate to six continents and all 50 states.

The Refuge’s biological heart, the coastal plain, is called Iizhik Gwats'an Gwandaii Goodlit, “The Sacred Place Where Life Begins” by the Gwich’in. It is here on the coastal plain where the Porcupine Caribou Herd migrates each year to give birth to their young. 

And the Western Arctic Reserve – which spans more than 23 million acres, the largest parcel of public lands in the United States – is home to Iñupiaq Peoples and an incredible array of wildlife. Over 100 million shorebirds and waterfowl migrate each year to Teshekpuk Lake each year, and the lands and waters within the Reserve are home to the largest population of Arctic Alaska's grizzly bears, as well as wolves, wolverines, moose, salmon, beluga and bowhead whales, and more than half a million caribou. 

Despite this, both the Refuge and the Reserve are under threat from oil and gas development. 

In the Reserve, ConocoPhillips is currently developing the Willow Project - a large-scale fossil fuel extraction effort that threatens the health of the landscape, wildlife, and local communities that rely on them. Without additional protections, the Reserve will be snatched up by oil companies who wish to build even more oil and gas infrastructure in the region. With Western Arctic caribou herd numbers already dropping, and mounting evidence that oil field roads disrupt caribou migrations – slicing through the Reserve for the sake of corporate profits is clearly not worth the risk. 

And in the Refuge, the federal government previously admitted that it doesn’t have enough information about the impacts of oil and gas on the coastal plain to protect wildlife and resources. Drilling would force changes to migration patterns for caribou and bird species, and imperil at-risk wildlife like polar bears, which are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act and are federally protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. The Southern Beaufort Sea polar bear population already numbers as few as 900 individuals and is considered the most threatened. Oil drilling in this unindustrialized coastal habitat in an increasingly warming Arctic could actually eradicate polar bears from the United States.

Join us to defend the wildlife who are counting on us to protect their home.

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