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Being Caribou

Hoping to raise awareness of the threat to the survival of the Porcupine Caribou Herd presented by the proposed exploitation of the oil and gas reserves in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the husband-and-wife-team of filmmaker Leanne Allison and wildlife biologist Karsten Heuer, follow the herd of 120,000 caribou on foot, across 1,500 kilometers of rugged Arctic tundra.

They let the caribou guide them through a wild and remote landscape, from Old Crow, Yukon, to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge -- the herd's calving grounds -- 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. Dramatic footage and video diaries provide an intimate perspective of an epic expedition.

This film presents undeniable evidence that gives the lie to then Sen. Frank Murkowski's (R-Alaska) disgenuous description of the Refuge as 'flat, unattractive, not pristine' as he held up a piece of blank white foam board. Watching the caribou migrate suggests a more appropriate analogy. The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is America's Serengeti.