Census shows growth for Interior Alaska caribou herd

A caribou peers through the trees and brush at Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska, on Monday, Aug. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer)

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) – A preliminary count shows the largest caribou herd in Interior Alaska has grown to a level not seen since the 1920s.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports a July photo census places the Fortymile Caribou Herd at a population of more than 71,000. The herd numbered at about 51,000 in a census in 2010.

Alaska Department of Fish and Game biologist Jeff Gross says the 2017 number is preliminary as the herd has only been counted once from the aerial photographs used for the census.

Gross says a crew inside an airplane photographed the herd over five hours on one day in July.

The herd migrates between Canada’s Yukon territory and the White Mountains north of Fairbanks.

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