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Rising Temperatures Worry Whaling Communities In Alaska


Members of Gordon Brower's whaling crew scan the horizon for bowhead whales, April 21, 2019. (Photo by Ravenna Koenig/Alaska's Energy Desk)

Members of Gordon Brower's whaling crew scan the horizon for bowhead whales, April 21, 2019. (Photo by Ravenna Koenig/Alaska's Energy Desk)

On the North Slope of Alaska, the Iñupiat tradition of hunting bowhead whales has an ancestry over 1,500 years old.

Today in Utqiagvik, there are two annual hunts when the whales pass by on their migration. The fall hunt has historically been done on open water, and the spring hunt from the ice that attaches to the coast each winter. But as temperatures have risen in the Arctic, the ice that serves as the platform for spring whaling has changed dramatically.

And even though whalers in Utqiagvik say that they’re adapting to that change, some also say the ice is less stable than it used to be — and more dangerous.

From Alaska’s Energy Desk, Ravenna Koenig (@vennkoenighas the story.

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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