Greg Pollowitz tweets: OMG. Palin didn’t shoot Bambi, she shot Rudolph! “Caribou is a term used in North America for wild reindeer http://bit.ly/fDmghr”. The link is to the Wikipedia page for Caribou.
I chuckled at this because when I was researching my big piece on ANWR (almost ten years ago!), I was constantly reading all of this stuff about how precious and wonderful and special and nifty and rare Alaskan caribou are. And, drilling in ANWR would, of course, irrevocably harm these supposedly endangered creatures.
Now, there’s little evidence drilling would hurt them at all. The herd around Prudhoe Bay has thrived since they started drilling there. And they are hardly endangered. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t keep them plentiful, if we can.
Anyway, I get off the plane in Anchorage after reading all of this purple prose about caribou and I have a day before I’m to fly up to the North Slope. So I walk around downtown Anchorage. One of the first things I encounter are numerous street vendors hawking caribou or reindeer sausage.
What’s the difference between caribou and reindeer? Well, the Wikipedia page doesn’t say so, but I found this to be a controversial topic. According to Wikipedia, caribou is just the North American term for wild reindeer. But according to some folks, reindeer is what you call a captive or “domesticated” caribou. In other words, if it’s in a pen or pulling Santa’s sled, it’s a reindeer. If your car hits one on the AlCan highway, it’s a caribou. I remember reading other sources that said reindeer and caribou aren’t the same thing.
Regardless, if the caribou were really the unicorns of North America some opponents of ANWR made them out to be, I don’t think you’d be able to get them with grilled onions and mustard outside the Anchorage city hall. And yes, it’s super-tasty.