On the Status of Some Arctic Mammals

Robert Rausch
1953 Arctic  
The highest peaks of this group are more than 9,000 feet in altitude, and are snow-covered throughout the year. Two large lakes-Lakes Schrader and Peters-lie near these peaks, fortY miles from the Arctic Coast, at an altitude of about 3,000 feet. Lake Peters, to the south, receives much glacier water and is consequently turbid. It is connected through a narrow channel to Lake Schrader, whose waters are clear. Lake Peters lies in a deep basin with steep walls to the east and west. The slopes
more » ... g the western shore, however, are covered with willow (Salix alaxensis Cov.). Lake Schrader is surrounded by low rolling mountains covered with vegetation typical of dry alpine tundra. A large stream empties into this lake near its junction with Lake Peters, and extensive alluvial flats occur in this vicinity. These flats, as well as the stream banks, are grown to willow, and adjoin a 'marshy area at the south end of the lake. Polygonal formations are numerous in the marshy area, and the depressions support a dense growth of Carex spp. Sedge bogs are scattered along the lake and on the higher benches. Rock outcroppings are numerous on the ridges, and at the lower altitudes dwarf birch (Betula nana L.) is common. Water from the lakes drains off through a small stream at the north end of Lake Schrader, which flows into the Sadlerochit River a few miles north of the lakes. The steep valley of this stream supports the most luxuriant vegetation to be found in the region; for example, the willows are of exceptionally large size. The Romanzof Mountain region has been described by Leffingwell (1919) , and recent maps from air photographs have shown how accurate is his reconnaissance map of Lakes Schrader and Peters. His description of the area around the lakes is somewhat confusing at first glance as the names of the lakes have been transposed. Arctic Village: Situated near the southern limits of the Brooks Range on the East Chandalar River, Arctic Village is about eighty-five miles south of Lakes Schrader and Peters. It is inhabited by Kutchin Indians, and its fluctuating population never exceeds 50 persons. Because of the isolated location of this village, the people depend for their livelihood upon hunting and fishing. The mountains here rise to about 6,000 feet. Lakes and ponds are numerous. The broad river valley is grown to spruce, and the taiga reaches its northernmost extent in Alaska in this region. The flora and fauna differ little from that of the southern timbered portions of the Brooks Range farther to the west. Mammals The species of mammals considered in this study are listed in systematic order. The specific names applied are correct insofar as 1 have been able to determine from a review of the literature and the study of comparative material. Sorex obscurus obscurus Merriam. Dusky shrew. The northernmost records of the dusky ;hrew are those of Rausch (1951), based on specimens from the north edge of the Brooks Range along the Anaktuvuk River. In northeastern Alaska 1 have not taken this species north of Beaver, on the Yukon River. No shrews of any kind were trapped in the
doi:10.14430/arctic3870 fatcat:4yfoxxxomngflkvmylnrbx6xai