Catching a caribou isn’t easy. In some locations, it involves flying around in helicopters, shooting the animal with a tranquilizer dart, making it safely to the ground, and placing a radio collar on the animal before it wakes up. In other areas, the process is “easier.” Where caribou, also known as reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) cross rivers in western Alaska, “you can just basically pull up on the boat from two sides, grab the antlers and then put the collar around [the caribou] without tranquilizing them,” Elie Gurarie, an associate research scientist at the University of Maryland, told Mongabay. Collaring animals “is an intensive thing to put an animal though,” Gurarie said. Which is why, “it puts all the more onus on us to learn as much as we possibly can from these tracking data.” Something researchers are hoping to learn is how rapidly changing conditions in the Arctic are affecting the animals there. But these types of big-picture questions require big-picture data, which can be hard to come by in the Arctic. Not only do they have to track these formidable animals in one of the world’s most remote areas, but existing data on the same species may have been collected by different agencies, in different locations, across time, with no easy way to connect the dots. Now, a global archive of animal movement is making it easier to make those connections. The newly launched Arctic Animal Movement Archive (AAMA), includes 28 years of terrestrial and marine animal tracking studies…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer