Andrew Berdahl on YouTube: Tracked UAV caribou footage
Canada | Environment

Study confirms Inuit knowledge about movements of caribou herds



Inuit knowledge about the Dolphin-Union caribou herds in Canada has been confirmed in a study that used drones to track the animals.

The caribou are unique in that they are among the few that cross sea ice as part of their seasonal migrations. By tracking the animals with overhead drones, researchers found that a few animals take the lead and the rest follow.

“This leads to asymmetric information flow through the herd and, interestingly, agrees with the traditional knowledge of the Inuit, which states that a subset of ‘lead’ caribou effectively guides the path of the annual migration,” co-author Andrew Berdahl of the Santa Fe Institute said in a press release.

The Dolphin-Union herds occupy the Victoria Island in the Northwest Territories of Canada in the summer. They migrate to the mainland in Nunavut and Northwest Territories during the winter.

Read More on the Story:
Drones Are Spying on Caribou—for Science (National Geographic March 26, 2018)
It’s Complicated: Drone Research Reveals Caribou’s Complex Social Dynamics (Drone Below March 27, 2018)
Drones Spy Caribou on a Treacherous, Icy Crossing (The New York Times March 28, 2018)

Research Article:
Colin J. Torney, Myles Lamont, Leon Debell, Ryan J. Angohiatok, Lisa-Marie Leclerc, Andrew M. Berdahl. Inferring the rules of social interaction in migrating caribou. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 2018; 373 (1746): 20170385 DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2017.0385

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