Being Caribou (2004)
Environmentalist Leanne Allison and wildlife biologist Karsten Heuer
follow a herd of 120,000 caribou on foot, across 1,500 kilometres of
rugged Arctic tundra. The husband-and-wife team wants to raise
awareness of threats to the caribou’s survival.
They let the
caribou guide them through a wild and remote landscape, from the
central Yukon to coastal Alaska and back. During the five-month
journey, they ski and hike across mountains, swim icy rivers, brave
Arctic weather and endure hordes of mosquitoes. They survive an
encounter with a hungry grizzly bear that forces them to reconcile what
it means to be a part of true wilderness. Hunger, fatigue and pain
become routine, but the sacrifice is worth it when they witness the
miracle of birth just metres from their tent.
Dramatic footage and
video diaries provide an intimate perspective of an epic expedition. At
stake is the herd’s delicate habitat, which could be devastated if
proposed oil and gas development goes ahead in the herd’s calving
grounds in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.