Feed on
Posts
Comments

Archive for the 'Arctic' Category

Dr. Steven Amstrup has been studying polar bears and their habitat since 1980, and much of what we know about them, and even how scientists study them, comes from his work. For instance, he was the first person to apply radio telemetry to the study of polar bears, which allowed scientists to understand the immense distances that polar bears travel, and that knowledge of their movements is vital to understanding polar bear ecology. He also developed studies to quantitatively describe denning habitat and developed the ability to locate dens under the snow with Forward Looking Infrared Imagery (FLIR). That allowed him to uncovered – quite literally – information about polar bear maternal denning. He made the unexpected discovery that over half of historic polar bear maternity dens in Alaska were on the drifting pack ice, and then, subsequently, he led work that showed that polar bears increasingly opted to den on land because of sea ice deterioration due to global warming.

Over the three decades he’s been studying polar bears, Amstrup has observed a profound change in their Arctic habitats and the threats they face, and he often speaks out about the need to mitigate greenhouse gasses if polar bears are to survive as a species.

Dr. Amstrup is currently senior scientist at Polar Bears International. He led the international team of researchers that prepared nine reports that became the basis for the decision, by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior in 2008, to list polar bears as a threatened species. He is a past chairman of the IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group and has been an active member of the group throughout his career. Prior to joining Polar Bears International staff, he was the Polar Bear Project Leader with the United States Geological Survey at the Alaska Science Center, Anchorage, AK.

Listen Now:


Read Full Post »

Robert Buchanan, President and CEO of Polar Bears International (PBI), shares the special adaptations of polar bears to a life on the ice. He tells “The WildLife” host Laurel Neme how their huge paws, the size of dinner plates, act like snowshoes to distribute their weight and keep them from breaking through the ice. He also reveals that the thick, black pads on the soles of their feet are covered with “suction cups” to provide traction. These marine mammals depend on sea ice for most aspects of their life, including hunting, breeding, and in some cases, denning. That’s why the loss of sea ice due to climate change is so alarming. Summer ice in the Arctic has shrunk by almost 1 million square miles, an area roughly equal to the size of Alaska, Texas, and the state of Washington combined. Consequently, federal scientists believe two-thirds of all the world’s polar bears could vanish by 2050. That’s also why, in May 2008, the United States listed the polar bear as a threatened species under its Endangered Species Act.

Robert Buchanan made his first trip to the Far North and saw his first wild polar bear in the mid-1980s. He has returned every year since. After retiring from marketing for a leading global beverage company, Robert joined Polar Bears International’s board of directors in 2000 and became president and CEO of both PBI USA and Canada. Polar Bears International is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the worldwide conservation of the polar bear and its habitat through research, stewardship, and education. Its main focus is to provide scientific resources and information on polar bears and their habitat to institutions and the general public. Robert’s vision is to help the world understand the importance of the Arctic ecosystems and to inspire individuals to take action toward conserving the planet. This episode of “The WildLife” aired on The Radiator, WOMM-LP, 105.9 FM in Burlington, Vermont on February 14, 2010.

Listen Now:


Read Full Post »

Nancy Bazilchuk reveals reindeers’ special adaptations as she describes her dramatic cross country ski trek across Hardangervidda Plateau in one of Norway’s most famous national parks in search of this elusive animal. Traveling the same route that nearly defeated legendary explorer Roald Amundsen, she tells “The WildLife” host Laurel Neme about the slow seasonal waltz from east to west as the wild reindeer let winter storms expose the lichens they depend on for 80 percent of their winter diet and also divulges whether reindeer really can fly.

Nancy Bazilchuk is a freelance science writer and editor living in Norway. She used to work the environmental beat at Vermont’s Burlington Free Press, where she covered a range of topics such as land use controversies, invasive species and hazardous waste sites. She’s written for numerous publications, including the New Scientist, Scientific American and Audubon Magazine. This episode of “The WildLife” originally aired on The Radiator, WOMM-LP, 105.9 FM in Burlington, Vermont on December 28, 2009 and was rebroadcast December 27, 2010.

Listen Now:


Read Full Post »

Ari Daniel Shapiro, a wildlife biologist and radio contributor, shares his research on the vocalizations of killer whales. He reveals to “The WildLife” host Laurel Neme a number of interesting facts about the sounds of killer whales. Did you know they use both high and low frequencies in the same vocalization? He’ll also divulge what it’s really like to undertake this demanding kind of research in remote and frigid locales. While earning his PhD in biological oceanography at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Ari Daniel Shapiro studied the vocalizations of killer whales in Norway. Now he uses his own voice and knowledge to tell stories about science on radio and other media. He's a regular contributor to a variety of national public radio programs and the host of both the Podcast of Life and Ocean Gazing. You can find the video on Ari’s killer whale research discussed in this interview as well as other material on his website, www.aridanielshapiro.com. This episode of “The WildLife” aired on The Radiator, WOMM-LP, 105.9 FM in Burlington, Vermont on March 29, 2010.

Listen Now:


Read Full Post »

Al Crane, former FWS Special Agent, remembers his 30+ years in wildlife law enforcement in Alaska’s most remote reaches. He tells “The WildLife” host Laurel Neme about the many challenges he faced protecting walruses, wolves, bears and other creatures. He also discusses working within the Native Alaskan culture and how his involvement with the 1,150 mile Iditarod dog sled race, both as an organizer and entrant, helped him connect with the people and ultimately do his job better. Mr. Crane was a special agent with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the first such officer stationed in northwestern Alaska. He worked with the state of Alaska’s Fish and Wildlife Protection Division until 1974, when he moved to FWS to implement the then-newly passed federal Marine Mammal Protection Act. For the next 20 plus years, he acted as supervisor, pilot and field operative for that federal wildlife law enforcement agency. He was also one of the early organizers of the Iditarod, and ran that grueling race in 1977. This episode of “The WildLife” aired on The Radiator, WOMM-LP, 105.9 FM in Burlington, Vermont on January 25, 2010.

Listen Now:


Read Full Post »

Nancy Bazilchuk reveals reindeers’ special adaptations as she describes her dramatic cross country ski trek across Hardangervidda Plateau in one of Norway’s most famous national parks in search of this elusive animal. Traveling the same route that nearly defeated legendary explorer Roald Amundsen, she tells “The WildLife” host Laurel Neme about the slow seasonal waltz from east to west as the wild reindeer let winter storms expose the lichens they depend on for 80 percent of their winter diet and also divulges whether reindeer really can fly.  Nancy Bazilchuk is a freelance science writer and editor living in Norway. She used to work the environmental beat at Vermont’s Burlington Free Press, where she covered a range of topics such as land use controversies, invasive species and hazardous waste sites. She’s written for numerous publications, including the New Scientist, Scientific American and Audubon Magazine. This episode of "The WildLife" aired on The Radiator, WOMM-LP, 105.9 FM in Burlington, Vermont on December 28, 2009.

Listen Now:


Read Full Post »