Canada nature

Articles in ‘Canada nature’

Rising temperatures push polar bears closer to humans

September 17th, 2009 Polar bears are coming into increasingly conflict with humans as melting ice is pushing them to search for food on land. “Hungry bears don’t just lie down – they go looking for an alternate food source,” says zoologist Ian Stirling at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada. “In many cases this brings them into human settlements and hunting camps.” The team found that the number of bears reported as attacking humans, homes and hunting camps in Churchill on the shores of Hudson more than tripled between 1970 and 2005, from 20 to 90 per year, despite a 20% fall in the bear’s population since 1980. The researchers note that shorter the sea ice season, the greater the reports of problem bear activity. New Scientist I’m sure this is true, but I wonder if humans are also occupying more and more territory and so increasing the amount of potential contact…

Ecological changes in the Arctic

September 11th, 2009 A review article in this week’s Science on the impact of climate change on the Arctic notes that ecosystems are changing fast, and that could portend more shifts in other parts of the world. The authors list numerous examples. Ringed seal pups in the Canadian Arctic have lost birth lairs to early spring melts, while warmer winters have allowed reindeer in Norway to thrive. Arctic fox populations are dropping as red foxes move north. And caribou calving has fallen out of sync with peak plant growth in Greenland, possibly explaining why calf survival has declined. More here

Grizzily bears hungry

September 11th, 2009 Worrying news from Canada’s West coast. Grizzily bears seem to be disappearing probably starving to death because of the massive drop in salmon numbers this year. We may be witnessing the collapse of an entire and until recently pristine ecosysem. Treehugger The Globe and Mail writes: “Reports from conservationists, salmon-stream walkers and ecotourism guides all along British Columbia’s wild central coast indicate a collapse of salmon runs has triggered widespread death from starvation of black and grizzly bears. Those guides are on the front lines of what they say is an unfolding ecological disaster that is so new that it has not been documented by biologists.”

North American wildlife news 2

August 20th, 2009

Desert tortoise by Tigerhawkvok

North American wildlife news 1

August 7th, 2009

A grizzly bear standing in sage brush.

Photo: NPS/Peaco

A quick round of the latest news affecting wildlife and nature in North America. I picked up the idea from this site.

  • Climate change could result in the catastrophic loss of wildlife in US’s National Parks.  Service is called on to create a system to manage animals and plants. A new report calls on federal government to take decisive action to avoid “a potentially catastrophic loss of animal and plant life” in national parks” LA Times See also Yellowstone’s grizzly bears and other wildlife at risk from climate change “In Yellowstone, a tiny beetle may decide the fate of the kingly grizzly bear. Whitebark pine nuts provide a valuable food source for the bears. A beetle that destroys the whitebark pine tree has gained a considerable foothold in Yellowstone because of the effects of climate change. In some parts of the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem, beetles have destroyed up to 90 percent of the trees in whitebark pine forests. Removing this important component of the grizzly bears’ diet puts considerable stress on the species that could ultimately lead to extinction.”
  • A report by the US geological survey indicates a steep rise in the melt rate of American glaciers over the last 10-15 years. The study looks at three “benchmark” glaciers- Wolverine and Gulkana in Alaska and South Cascade in Washington – as representative of thousands of other glaciers in North America. The Guardian
  • Scientists In Alaska spot a bar-tailed godwit tagged in Australia near Victoria – more than 8,000 miles away.
  • Pollution is icreasing in US beaches according to this article.
  • A coalition of environmental groups is attempting to intervene in a lawsuit from snowmobilers challenging critical habitat designations for the Canada lynx. Here
  • King salmon runs in Alaska have been closed this year as fewer fish have returned from the ocean. The decline could be down to changes in river conditions, ocean currents or the predator-prey balance.
  • More bobcats sighted in Seattle area First it was bears, now it’s bobcats that seem to be popping up in Western Washington urban areas.
  • Coyotes struggle as mange spreads “Every night it used to be quite a serenade,Rocky Hoffmann at the Nebraska Game and Parks office in North Platte said. But we’ve had a tremendous mange problem throughout the state, and the numbers are down”
  • Sea Otter Population Rebounds in US Northwest The population began to recover in 1969, with a couple dozen survivors from a reintroduction effort. Today, there are well over 1,000 sea otters in the Pacific waters off Oregon, Washington and British Columbia.
  • Rare wolverine spotted in the Pioneers