A low-budget but powerful documentary featuring a Canadian couple on a five-month, 1,000-mile journey to follow caribou on their epic migration to calving grounds in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is coming to Spokane for a benefit showing.
“Being Caribou,” by wildlife biologist Karsten Heuer and Leanne Allison will be shown Tuesday, 7 p.m., at Mountain Gear, 2002 N. Division.
The evening will include a brief introduction by Spokesman-Review Outdoors Editor Rich Landers, who has visited ANWR and reported on its wildlife and the controversy over oil exploration.
Mark Sprengel, Selkirk Conservation Alliance executive director, will give a short update on endangered caribou in the Selkirk Mountains.
But the main event is “Being Caribou,” which will be shown for a suggested donation of $5 to benefit The Lands Council’s “Raffle for the (Spokane) River” environmental protection campaign. Raffle prizes include a Necky kayak, K2 mountain bike and $500 Patagonia gift certificate.
“Being Caribou” was compiled by the two Canadians who went the extra 1,000 miles to illustrate the biological importance of the caribou calving area on ANWR’s coastal plain.
Since, 1987, the United States and Canada have had an international agreement to protect the Porcupine caribou herd. But U.S. proposals to drill for oil in the herd’s key calving area prompted the couple to take a political stand based on first-person experience.
At times they doubted themselves as they struggled to follow the animals over the Brooks Range and through tundra, frozen in winter and soggy and bug-infested in summer. Yet, they said, only twice did they seriously question the wisdom of their ordeal:
•When they realized that hungry grizzly bears also were following the herd to the calving grounds.
•And when they traveled to Washington, D.C., with their documentary and realized that most politicians were unmoved.
“Being Caribou” is currently touring North America and has won numerous awards at film festivals across Canada.
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