‘Extreme Conservation’ in the Most Hostile Places on Earth

Joel Berger dresses up in a bear suit to see how muskoxen in the Arctic will react, just one of the ways he’s an “extreme conservationist.”

Conserving wildlife at the extreme edges of the natural world, whether in the Arctic, Tibet, or Mongolia, presents huge challenges, from potholed roads (or no roads) to hypothermia, bear attacks, and even arrest. In Extreme Conservation, Joel Berger, professor of conservation biology at Colorado State University and scientist at the Wildlife Conservation Society, takes us on a journey to some of the most remote places on the planet, and introduces us to some of its rarest animals.

When National Geographic caught up with him at his home in Fort Collins, Colorado, he described how he was arrested in Russia, how climate change is bringing more and more species together in new and unpredictable ways, and why man’s best friend is increasingly a menace to wildlife.

Your work focuses on animals living in some of the most inhospitable places on earth. Introduce us to some of these creatures and tell us what draws you to these places. Are you a masochist, or what?

[Laughs] Good question, Simon! I do work in places that are a little bit off the radar. A lot of people know about elephants, say, in East Africa but people don’t know much about a species that lived with woolly mammoth called muskoxen. They’re an Arctic-only species, though they are not an ox and they don’t make musk. They’re more of a goat-antelope. They live in the cold, wind-swept tundra, from Greenland across Northern Canada into Arctic Alaska, and now a little bit into the Siberian Arctic.

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO PRESS

 

As we know, the world is warming. Most people believe that, even if the U.S. administration at the highest levels does not. This creates a lot of issues for cold-adapted species because they’re not used to warm weather. What happens when it rains rather than snows in the middle of winter and then everything freezes? The work I’m doing with my colleagues is both at the top of the world and at high elevations, in the Himalayas and the Tibetan Plateau. It is dealing with animals that are having problems with heat because as things warm it changes precipitation, ice, and snowfall. And these are very recent changes for these little-known, cold-adapted animals.

One of the odder things your work in the Arctic involved was dressing up as a bear and a caribou. What was that all about?

[Laughs] Most of my work has been in Arctic Alaska and over in eastern Arctic Russia. As the ice recedes, polar bears are ending up on islands and we’re trying to figure out how muskoxen are going to do with this potential predator on land. The best way as a scientist to get information is through experiments. In my case, my lab is the tundra. So I dress up as a bear and approach these groups of muskoxen to try and understand whether they’re recognizing bears. Can they tell a white bear is a polar bear versus a grizzly bear?

Occasionally, it gets dangerous. Male muskoxen are 800 pounds or so, with hooked horns, a bit like a Cape buffalo. I’m usually down on all fours with my fake cape and fake bear head. One time I was charged and I had to get rid of them fast. The fake head went flying up in the air, and the cape flew off in the other direction. Fortunately, the charging muskox got very confused as this biped stood up. All of a sudden, I was no longer a bear, but a screaming human!

Do you travel with your bear suit?

Oh, yeah, I do travel with the bear suit. [chortles] I get on an airplane and put down the fake head right next to me on the seat. The people sitting next door are either horrified or laughing. They’re not quite sure what to think! I’m as straight as can be but sometimes I break up on it, too. [laughs]

One of the surprising developments in the Arctic is the convergence of brown and polar bears. Tell us about so-called “pizzlies” and what they reveal about the changing climate.

Scientists have discovered that at least 10 different hybrid bears have been confirmed for DNA, which means we’re getting mating between brown and polar bears. Because of a warming Arctic, we’re bringing these species together. We now have grizzlies on islands in the Canadian Arctic where they had not appeared before, and we’ve got more polar bears on land scavenging whales and grizzlies scavenging those same whales. We don’t know what the outcomes are going to be. But we do know that we’ve got changing systems because of changing ice in the Arctic. And this has implications not only for the wildlife but also for the humans who subsist on the wildlife.

According to the proverb, dogs are man’s best friends. But they’re not wildlife’s best friends, are they? Talk us through some of the issues in Bhutan and elsewhere.

Of maybe 700 million dogs in the world, close to 50 percent of them are free-roaming in one sense or another. That doesn’t mean they’re totally feral but in places like Bhutan, Chile, and parts of Patagonia we’ve got dogs that are not under much control. Free-roaming dogs have been detected causing havoc in wide parts of the Himalayas and Mongolia, where they’re attacking different endangered species, from snow leopards to chiru, an antelope in Tibet that was the mascot for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. There are also attacks on takin, the national mammal of Bhutan, and other species in Central Asia. We don’t see this in the West so much, where dogs are usually under control. But in many other parts of the world dogs are causing havoc to wildlife.

Like many readers, I suspect, the takin is new to me. Introduce us to this strange animal, and its equally unusual home in the valley of Tsharijathang, in Bhutan.

Takin have been described as part wildebeest, part moose, and part pig. It’s a very unusual species that is rumoured to have been the source for the legend of the Golden Fleece. It’s a large animal, up to about 800 pounds, with beautiful fur, and is part of the goat-antelope group. They occur on cliffs and steep slopes in mountainous areas in China, Bhutan, and Burma. They are secretive, living in forests down low, where they’re a prey of tigers, or up high the young can be the prey of snow leopards. We know very little about them because of the deep forest habitat they occur in. Only in summer, when they migrate very high, do they emerge from the forests, and that’s when we get the best glimpse of them.

When I started my field work with some Bhutanese colleagues they told me it’s a five-day hike to get into the area, with three 17,000-foot passes. I was in my early 60s but I was like, “OK, I’m game, let’s do it!” It was a challenging way to enter some of these pristine landscapes where herders still raise domestic yaks and some horses. Snow leopards also occur in the system, so it’s a fascinating area few people ever see. And, yes, there are takin.

It’ll soon be time to get out our cashmere sweaters again. But according to you we may also be contributing to the extinction of many animals in Central Asia, including the iconic snow leopard. Unravel the threads for us.

Ninety percent of the world’s cashmere comes from two countries: Mongolia and China. The people on the land, the herders, rightfully want to do what the rest of us want, and have a sustainable economy and support their families. But as they increase the number of goats that produce the world’s high-quality cashmere, the goats nibble everything. As a result, a half-dozen endangered species are not having access to the food they need, species like saiga, which is a very odd antelope with a dangling proboscis. Other species that are impacted include Przewalski horseskhulan, an endangered desert ass in the Gobi, and blue sheep, which are not endangered but are major prey of snow leopards. And as the herders are incentivized to produce more and more goats, the situation becomes increasingly more dire for species on the land. Nobody wants people to get impacted, so the difficulty is finding the right type of solutions that can help people on the land but still benefit the species that occur there.

Wrangel Island, in the Russian Arctic, has to be one of the least-visited places on Earth. Put us on the map and explain why you call it a post-apocalyptic landscape.

It can be accessed only by boat or helicopter. But I could not get from my sites in Alaska to Wrangel. I had to fly to Moscow, go nine times zones east, land at a port 240 miles from Wrangel, and wait for a Russian helicopter to drop me in.

I call it post-apocalyptic because not only are there polar bears, but wolves have gotten there on their own, though the nearest point on land is 80 miles away. Caribou have been brought in and reindeer, which have gone feral. Wolverines have also made it from the Siberian coastline, traversing ice and frozen seas to get there. Now you’ve got a mixture going on between hybrid dogs that now look like wolves, or wolves that look like hybrid dogs. Muskoxen were also brought over at the request of the Russian Government, when we had a good relationship with them.

We still participate with Russian scientists, despite some of the acrimony at political levels. Conservation is the province of everybody. And it’s a marvellous place to work! It’s got a lot of wildlife and may be the forerunner of what the world is going to look like as different assemblages of species come together.

You’ve done 33 expeditions, including 19 to the Arctic, seven in Mongolia and seven in Tibet and the Himalayas. Talk us through some of the highs and lows of those journeys.

[Laughs] A major high would be coming across muskoxen and polar bear tracks on one of those bluebird days when it might be 20 degrees Fahrenheit below zero, but no wind, and sparkling ice. One of the lows was flying from Moscow and landing in a Siberian town called Pevek. Russian Security Border Patrol folks came on, I’m the only Americanski on the plane, and I am escorted off, my passport confiscated, and taken to the police station. Everything is being done in Russian, a language I am unfamiliar with, and the only words that I understand are C-I-A. [laughs]

In Mongolia, I ended up in the emergency room because my legs were going into spasms and for three days I wasn’t able to hold any food. But one kind of sucks it up. There are many other scientists and explorers who go out there and do similar things. But we do realize that there are some trade-offs.

At the end of the book, you write, “In the absence of commitment on both global and local scales, the iconic wildlife of the world’s highest mountains and greatest steppes will cease to persist.” Are you optimistic or pessimistic about the future?

There are a lot of reasons to be pessimistic but if that’s the view we choose to take there are going to be no chances. On a personal level, I’m optimistic! There are a lot of countries investing in conservation. Russia has stepped up with 191 islands in the Arctic that are protected as of 2016. Places in Western China the size of California have been linked together for conservation. Chile is planning to link 10 of their national parks. In the U.S., the number of people per year that go to national parks and zoos eclipses all professional baseball, football, and basketball combined. People care about nature and wildlife, and that’s why I am optimistic.

This interview was edited for length and clarity.

Hungry and homeless: B.C. wildfires are forcing bears out of critical habitats

After a wildfire, one rescue worker says she often treats bears suffering from dehydration and malnutrition

Angelika Langen seen treating a bear cub in an undated photo. She says she’s preparing to treat a number of malnourished bears who have lost access to food due to the B.C. wildfires. (Angelika Langen)

Angelika Langen has been rehabilitating bears at the Northern Lights Wildlife Society in Smithers, B.C., for 27 years.

But this summer proved especially difficult, after a number of animals she’d been treating died unexpectedly. With each death, she could feel her resolve crack.

“That takes a huge chunk out of your heart every time,” said Langen, who lives outside of the northern B.C. town.

Sometimes the loss leads her to consider quitting.

“But then there’s another animal that comes and you just pick back up again and on you go.”

After B.C.’s record-setting wildfire season, Langen is bracing to treat a number of animals, specifically bears, that have been displaced by the blazes.

While many people across the province have been forced to flee their homes due to wildfires, so too have wildlife. Fires rip through forests, destroying habitats and burning food sources.

Forced from homes

It’s not often that Langen treats a bear with a direct injury from a wildfire, but the indirect effects keep her busy.

When a bear is forced out of its territory, it will move in search of a new home. However, that new home may already be inhabited, at which point the bears will fight each other to lay claim to the patch of land.

Usually, the weaker bear will be pushed further away in search of food, creating a ripple effect, according to Langen, until it wanders into an urban area, sniffing out garbage cans for food. This represents a danger to the public and to the bear.

After a wildfire, Langen says she often treats bears suffering from dehydration and malnutrition.

Angelika Langen will keep malnourished bears at her shelter until they put on enough weight to be released into the wild. (Video by Northern Lights Wildlife Society)

A natural force of renewal

Although wildfires often cause disruption and harm to people and wildlife, there is a small silver lining, said Cole Burton, a University of British Columbia assistant professor of forestry.

“Fire is a natural force of renewal in the ecosystem,” said Burton.

He says a fire can clear out bigger vegetation and lead to the germination of seeds in the soil, creating conditions that allow certain plants to grow better.

“Sometimes that new growth is very nutritious and abundant, high-quality forage,” said Burton.

Cole Burton says fire can clear out bigger vegetation and lead to the germination of seeds in the soil, creating different conditions that allow certain plants to grow better. (@CONAFOR/Twitter)

How to help?

Langen typically sees bears in need of aid once the wildfires have ended, so she’s using this period to remind the public that the best way to help is to leave bears alone.

Too often, someone will see a skinny bear and leave out food or water, she said. Very quickly, the bear will learn to expect food and eventually return for more.

“Even though you feel bad, you really need to make sure that you do not give that kind of assistance because it does not lead to a good end,” said Langen.

 

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/hungry-and-homeless-b-c-wildfires-are-forcing-bears-out-of-critical-habitats-1.4807591

Hungry black bear boards four boats over three days

By Warren Schlote

https://www.manitoulin.ca/hungry-black-bear-boards-four-boats-over-three-days/

August 22, 2018

HEYWOOD ISLAND—Boaters seeking a quiet anchorage in the sheltered waters of Browning Cove, east of Little Current at Heywood Island, have instead found themselves facing a hungry bear that visited four different boats over the course of three days.

“I was down below fixing dinner, a bass I caught yesterday, when I heard this loud strange scratching noise,” says Brian Laux of Walworth, NY.

“I thought it might have been a human swimmer in trouble, someone who was so weak they couldn’t crawl out of the water. But when I went outside there was a bear right in the water—he was trying to climb up the side of the boat,” Mr. Laux recalled. “He sort of gave me a dirty look.”

– Advertisement –

Mr. Laux immediately got in contact with Roy Eaton, who runs the daily Cruiser’s Net broadcast out of Little Current, to share his incredible story. At the time, he did not consider the bear a major threat because of his timid interaction with it. Mr. Laux says he has heard the bear is often spotted swimming across the mouth of the bay in which he was anchored but more recently it has been seen making trips to Browning Island.

Fortunately, the bear left without much fuss after this first encounter. But it was not finished yet.

Mr. Laux had just finished listening to the morning broadcast when he heard the unmistakable sound of the bear paddling back towards his boat—perhaps ironically named Serenity. This time, the bear was more persistent. “I poked him in the nose with my boat hook,” said Mr. Laux. The bear, although seemingly annoyed by the gesture, swam around the boat a couple times and eventually retreated back to shore.

That morning, Mr. Laux was visited by the owners of a boat called Carandy. Unfortunately, Mr. Laux was not the first person to have an encounter with this bear. On the same day as Mr. Laux’s first encounter, the bear had already visited Carandy, which was anchored in the same area as Serenity. Carandy’s owners did not respond to a request for comment by press time.

When the bear arrived, Carandy’s owners were away on a kayak trip. When they returned, the bear was in the process of tearing apart their cabin. It had climbed aboard using the swim ladder they left down to get into their kayaks. Carandy’s cupboards were ripped off and nearly everything inside was eaten, chewed or covered in fur and bear spit. After making noise by banging on the hull, the bear finally was scared off and retreated to the island.

Carandy’s interior was trashed. With no other options, the boaters elected to clean up their mess and figure out what to do next. But as they were cleaning, the bear came back and attempted to board the boat again from the bow. After a solid whack on its nose from the boat hook, the bear swam back towards land and stared at Carandy from the shore. Feeling threatened by the bear’s continued presence, they moved to the middle of the bay and set up anchorage there.

Meanwhile, after Mr. Laux fended off the bear the following morning, he elected to stay one final night but repositioned himself further from shore. He went around to visit the other boats anchored in the area and made sure they knew of the bear’s presence and to keep their swim ladders up.

Mr. Laux’s warning and an advisory on Mr. Eaton’s Cruisers Net proved useful for Dennis Kirkwood, who had just arrived into the bay on his catamaran. After a late dinner with his girlfriend, they were getting ready for bed around midnight when they heard a thumping and scratching noise under the stern of the boat.

“I immediately suspected what it was,” said Mr. Kirkwood. “I ran out and grabbed a whisker pole and started clanking it around.”

The bear was under the swim platform, between the two hulls. The bear had knocked out the floor plate and its paw was coming up through the opening. After a continued effort, Mr. Kirkwood switched to his wooden oar to hit the bear’s paw. The bear pulled its paw back but remained under the platform, breathing heavily.

“It was very surrealistic,” said Mr. Kirkwood, adding that the pitch darkness of the night added a complicated aspect to the ordeal.

“He’s substantial sized, maybe 250 pounds; not a cub at all,” Mr. Kirkwood says.

Mr. Kirkwood continued to poke through the opening to encourage the bear to leave, but it stayed put. That was a surprise, as Mr. Kirkwood understood bears usually scatter upon hearing loud noises.

“I tried blasting my air horn like a madman trying to get him to leave, but he just stayed on.”

With that, Mr. Kirkwood decided to keep prodding it with his oar to encourage the bear to leave. It worked, but the bear managed to break his wooden oar in the process.

Mr. Kirkwood notified Mr. Eaton of his experience. The bear incidents were turning into a trend.

On Thursday night, Otto Gustafson had what may have been the closest experience yet. He arrived at Heywood Island and had anchored for the night. At about 9:30, he heard the telltale scratching and splashing of a bear next to his boat. His swim ladder was up, so he decided to stay put because the bear should not have been able to make it on board.

He was wrong.

Suddenly, the bear climbed the stern and appeared in the cockpit. The bear started sniffing for something to eat, and the two came within 18 inches of each other. Mr. Gustafson began screaming and making noise at the bear, but the bear seemed to ignore the disturbance. Mr. Gustafson even shone his spotlight into its eyes and sounded his foghorn, but nothing seemed to dissuade the bear.

The bear had put its paw through the screen that separated it from Mr. Gustafson, when a fellow boater heard the commotion and came alongside them on his dinghy. It was not a moment too soon. The presence of the dinghy seemed to scare off the bear which walked to the bow, entered the water and disappeared.

So far, these four boat boardings are the only reports The Expositor has heard of regarding bear encounters at Heywood Island or elsewhere.

“I suspect somebody might have fed it off a boat at one point. That’s a supposition, but he’s certainly learned that boats equal food,” says Mr. Laux.

Jolanta Kowalski from Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) says this year’s wild food surveys have indicated a decrease in natural food availability for bears because of an ongoing drought.

“Bears have a phenomenal sense of smell and if they find food once at a location, they will return. It’s critical for boat residents and the public to manage anything that may attract bears such as garbage and food,” stresses Ms. Kowalski.

The Expositor asked at what point the MNRF would take action, if any, to deal with the situation, and what that action would entail.

According to an email received from the MNRF, if a bear is a public safety risk people should call 911 or their local police. A bear breaking into a residence – in this case a boat – would qualify as an emergency. (see below from Bear Wise web page)

Police will assess the situation. They may call MNRF for assistance to trap and relocate a specific problem bear.

The Ministry provides advice and education. The public can call the Bear Wise phone line 1-866-514-2327 <tel:+18665142327> for information about avoiding human-bear conflicts.

Who to contact

Emergencies

Call 911 or your local police, if you feel a bear poses an immediate threat to personal safety and:

* enters a school yard when school is in session
* enters or tries to enter a residence
* wanders into a public gathering
* kills livestock/pets and lingers at the site
* stalks people and lingers at the site

Generally, bears want to avoid humans. Most encounters are not aggressive and attacks are rare.

Non-emergencies

Call the Bear Wise reporting line at 1-866-514-2327 <tel:+18665142327> (*between April 1-November 30) if a bear is:

* roaming around, checking garbage cans
* breaking into a shed where garbage or food is stored
* in a tree
* pulling down a bird feeder or knocking over a barbecue
* moving through a backyard or field but is not lingering

https://www.manitoulin.ca/hungry-black-bear-boards-four-boats-over-three-days/

<https://www.manitoulin.ca/hungry-black-bear-boards-four-boats-over-three-days/>

Hungry black bear boards four boats over three days <https://www.manitoulin.ca/hungry-black-bear-boards-four-boats-over-three-days/>

http://www.manitoulin.ca <http://www.manitoulin.ca>

HEYWOOD ISLAND—Boaters seeking a quiet anchorage in the sheltered waters of Browning Cove, east of Little Current at Heywood Island, have instead found themselves facing a hungry bear that visited four different boats over the course of three days.

Why These Grizzly-Loving Women Entered a Lottery to Hunt Grizzlies

Inside the environmental protest sweeping Wyoming.

Grizzly bear 399 and three of her cubs.
Grizzly bear 399 and three of her cubs. COURTESY THOMAS D. MANGELSEN

ON THE MORNING OF THURSDAY, July 26, around 7,000 people logged in to the website of the Wyoming Game & Fish Department, their fingers crossed. All had entered a lottery that would allow them to hunt a grizzly bear in the continental United States for the first time in decades.

One of these people was Kelly Mayor—a 56-year-old resident of Jackson, Wyoming. She had entered the lottery at the very last minute, just hours before it closed, and didn’t think to check the results until she got a reminder email. When she clicked through, she was greeted by a screen that said “#2.” She’d won the second spot in the hunt. “I was dumbfounded,” she says.

Mayor doesn’t actually want to kill a grizzly. She, like thousands of others across the country, entered the bear tag lottery as an act of protest. All these people are part of “Shoot ‘Em With a Camera, Not a Gun,” a movement spearheaded by a group of Wyoming women who are hoping to change how their state thinks about wildlife management—and maybe save some grizzlies in the process.

A grizzly bear in Yellowstone National Park.
A grizzly bear in Yellowstone National Park. YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK/PUBLIC DOMAIN

Huge and shaggy-coated, the grizzly bear is an icon of the American west. About 700 of them live in and around Yellowstone National Park, the beneficiaries of conservation efforts that have brought their numbers up fivefold since the mid-1970s, when they were first added to the endangered species list and began receiving federal protection. Last summer, Yellowstone-area grizzlies were removed from the list, and management of the bears was turned over to the states of Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming.

Montana decided not to have a hunt this year, and Idaho is raffling off a single license. But this past spring, the Wyoming Game & Fish Commission—the policy arm of the Game & Fish Department—voted unanimously to allow up to 22 bears to be killed. Commissioners argue that hunting a limited number of bears will reduce human-wildlife conflict, and that provisions in place—including mandatory training for tag winners and a prohibition on killing female bears with dependent young—will prevent the hunt from affecting the species’s recovery.

Enjoying This Story?

Get our latest, delivered straight to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.

Others disagree with the decision. The American Society of Mammalogists has called the delisting “premature,” pointing out that although their population numbers have gone up, grizzlies are still not prevalent enough to guarantee a robust and genetically diverse population. Thanks to a campaign from the Center for Biological Diversity, several billboards in the West now depict a grizzly with the legend “I am not a trophy.”

Nonconsumptive advocates, photographing grizzlies outside Yellowstone.
Nonconsumptive advocates, photographing grizzlies outside Yellowstone. JAMES ST. JOHN/CC BY 2.0

One of the hunt’s opponents is Deidre Bainbridge, a lawyer who also lives in Jackson. Bainbridge is passionate about wildlife, and for years, she and others have been advocating for a category of nature enthusiast she calls “the non-consumptive advocate.” As opposed to a hunter, fisher, or trapper, Bainbridge explains, a non-consumptive advocate “cares about wildlife simply because it’s there”—although people may want to see it, or take a picture, they aren’t looking to kill it.

Because the Game & Fish department is funded by hunting and fishing licenses, along with firearm, ammunition, and fishing tackle sales, “that kind of person doesn’t have a voice” in management decisions, she says. (Game and Fish spokesman Renny MacKay says that the department “takes in significant amounts of public comment” through meetings and online, and that there are “definitely some ways that we [accounted for] some perspectives from people who aren’t hunters,” including prohibiting hunting within a quarter mile of a road.)

But what if non-consumptive advocates started buying hunting licenses, too? Late this spring, after a Game & Fish meeting she found particularly frustrating, Bainbridge got together with Lisa Robertson—the founder of Wyoming Untrapped, a local trapping reform advocacy group—and started combing through regulations for the grizzly hunt. “I couldn’t see where [we would be] interfering with a lawful hunt by buying a tag,” Bainbridge says. After all, she points out, people with hunting tags often choose not to pull the trigger, for all kinds of reasons. “We decided to do it.”

The more of them who entered the lottery, they figured, the better their odds of actually winning. Bainbridge and Robertson put their heads together with a few other concerned local women, each of whom brought their own particular skills: one is a well-connected philanthropist, one is a film producer with a lot of high-profile contacts, and one is an animal rights activist with a long history in the community.

The five founders of Shoot 'Em With a Camera—from left, Judy Hofflund, Deidre Bainbridge, Heather Mycoskie, Lisa Robertson, and Ann Smith.
The five founders of Shoot ‘Em With a Camera—from left, Judy Hofflund, Deidre Bainbridge, Heather Mycoskie, Lisa Robertson, and Ann Smith. COURTESY DEIDRE BAINBRIDGE

Together, they began spreading the word, via a Facebook group and an ad in a local paper. They also started a GoFundMe campaign, so that if anyone actually did win a tag, the group could cover the associated costs, which begin at $600 for a Wyoming resident and $6,000 for an out-of-stater. “I would never have put in for a tag if I didn’t know that it could be reimbursed,” says Mayor, who found the campaign when a friend shared it on Facebook. She joined due to what she calls a “visceral” opposition to hunting animals just for sport. “I’m not opposed to hunting—my husband hunts, and we usually have game meat in the freezer,” he says. “But trophy hunting has always just hit me at my core.”

Many others felt similarly. “We had momentum within 48 hours,” Bainbridge says. “Women all over the country got involved.” It drew some big names: Jane Goodall applied for a grizzly tag, as did legendary elephant conservationist Cynthia Moss. As of press time, the GoFundMe has raised over $40,000, and Robertson told theAssociated Press that of the 7,000 or so people who entered the lottery, at least 1,000 were “Shoot ‘Em With a Camera” participants.

Some of these entrants, like Bainbridge, are playing the long game, intending that this will help Wyoming photographers and sightseers have a voice in wildlife management. “Others did it to simply stop the [gun-based] hunt for 10 days,” Bainbridge says—the length of time each tag-holder can spend in the field before they have to cede their ground to the next person. (The group focused their efforts on the lottery for Areas 1-6, where up to 10 grizzlies can be killed over the course of 60 days.)

Kelly Mayor looks out over Wyoming grizzly territory, where she may soon spend ten days.
Kelly Mayor looks out over Wyoming grizzly territory, where she may soon spend ten days. LISA ROBERTSON

In late July, the group learned that they had successfully won two tags, out of the 10 available. Mayor got #2, and the other, #8, went to Thomas Mangelsen—a wildlife photographer well-known for his images of Grizzly Bear 399, who is herself famous for mothering many cubs. “It’s almost uncanny,” says Bainbridge. “We couldn’t have planned it [this way].” If it takes the other winners more than a few days each to complete their hunts, it might be possible to run out the clock and save some bears.

In general, Shoot ‘Em With a Camera participants would prefer the hunt didn’t happen at all. On August 30, there will be a hearing in Missoula, Montana, during which opponents of the grizzly bear’s new status will try to get it returned to the endangered species list. “Our bigger quest is to prevent the trophy hunting in Wyoming [altogether], because we don’t believe that the delisting is appropriate at this time,” says Bainbridge.

But if it comes down to it, Mayor is ready to go. When she first learned she had won, she figured she would sit the actual “hunt” out. “I thought … I’d pay the tag money and walk away,” she says. But getting to know the Shoot ‘Em With a Camera crew has changed her mind. “The ladies have made it into such an amazing thing,” Mayor says. They’re going to send videographers and photographers with her, and take turns spending time out there themselves. If the hunt goes through, and her number gets called, she says, “I plan on being up there for 10 days.”

She’s looking forward to it. “I’m sort of an armchair activist,” she says. “I don’t really speak up about issues, but I definitely have feelings about things like this. This is really different for me, to have a voice.”

Bear that attacked cruise worker was skeletal, expert says; signs of its presence on beach should have been obvious, researchers who saw it the day before say

bremenhttp://icepeople.net/2018/07/30/hiding-in-plain-sight-footprints-and-whale-carcass-should-have-been-dead-giveaway-of-polar-bears-presence-say-research-crew-members-who-saw-it-a-day-before-attack/

The cruise ship wasn’t trying to bring tourists ashore to look at a polar bear. The uneven landscape of the beach meant the animal could have been out of sight a short distance away – but a whale carcass and lots of bear tracks should have been a dead giveaway. The crew tried to scare the bear away before being forced to kill it. An expert researcher says it appears the bear was very thin.

A few more details were released Monday by officials and a lot more criticism was expressed –including from celebrities and other prominent people worldwide – about a polar bear that was fatally shot after attacking a cruise ship crew member in northern Svalbard on Saturday.

Twelve crew members from the MS Bremen cruise ship went ashore in two dinghies at Sjuøyane, a group of islands at the northernmost part of the archipelago, at about 8:30 a.m. to prepare for a shore excursion by tourists on the vessel, according to a press release issued by The Governor of Svalbard. Four of the crew were polar bear guards, according to Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, a German company which operated the ship.

“The attack happened on shore,” Police Chief Lt. Ole Jakob Malmo said in the governor’s press release. “The victim, a 42-year old man from Germany, was wounded in the head. Two of the others in the group opened fire on the bear and killed it.”

Although the crew received widespread criticism from commenters wondering why sedation or other non-lethal means were used against the bear, Malmo said such attempts were indeed made.

“Initially, the group attempted to scare away the bear by shouting and making loud noises as well as firing a signal pistol, but to no effect,” he said.

A polar bear – almost certainly the one that was shot – was spotted the day before the attack eating a whale carcass by research expedition participants aboard the M/S Clione vessel from the Czech Republic.

“He just ate and then slept and then enjoyed being there,” said Josef Elster, director of the Czech Centre for Polar Ecology.

Jan Pechar, captain of the Clione, said an uneven surface on the beach meant the bear could have been a short distance from the cruise ship crew without being seen, but the whale carcass and bear footprints were clearly visible through a telephoto lens from the ship.

“There definitely was some proof” of the bear’s very recent presence, he said.

Pechar said he reported the bear sighting, as well as others spotted in the area during the expedition, to the governor’s office. Officials at the governor’s office did not immediately respond to questions about whether such reports would have been available to others traveling in the area.

Although the bear was able to eat a large last meal, photos of its carcass suggest it was “quite emaciated,” Jon Aars, a polar bear expert with the Norwegian Polar Institute, told NRK.

“Polar bears can attack people, regardless of whether it is hungry or not, but there is a greater risk that it attacks people when it’s hungry,” he said.

The vast majority of criticism by outside commenters toward the cruise line was for causing the bear’s death by invading the bear’s natural turf.

“Let’s get too close to a polar bear in its natural environment and then kill it if it gets too close. Morons,” wrote British actor-comedian Ricky Gervais in a Twitter message.

An abundance of other accusatory Tweets – not all of them entirely consistent with the facts of the incident – were posted, forwarded and reported in a rapidly growing number of media outlets worldwide.

Extinction Symbol@extinctsymbol

Polar bear killed for acting like a wild animal: https://www.nbc4i.com/news/u-s-world/polar-bear-killed-after-attack-on-arctic-cruise-ship-guard/1331132958 

Polar bear killed after attack on Arctic cruise ship guard

Norwegian authorities said a polar bear on Saturday attacked and injured a polar bear guard who was leading tourists off a cruise ship on an Arctic archipelago. The polar bear was shot dead by…

nbc4i.com

Among the more common apparent misperceptions was the cruise line was deliberately attempting to allow passengers to view the polar bear from land (although such suspicions have been expressed by a few locals and observers at Sjuøyane noted there were bears in the area since a large amount of whale fat was on the beach where the attack occurred).

“Maybe cruise sightseeing tours shouldn’t take place then polar bear guards wouldn’t be needed to protect gawking tourists & polar bears would be left in peace & not shot dead merely to satisfy a photo-op?” wrote Jane Roberts, a British genealogist.

Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, in a statement, stated they do not intentionally bring passengers ashore to watch polar bears.

“Polar bears are only observed on board ships from safe distance,” the statement notes. “In order to prepare a shore leave, the polar bear guards will go to land as a group and without passengers to land, set up a land station and secure the area to make sure there are no polar bears. Once such an animal approaches, the shore leave would be stopped immediately.”

The cruise line stated it is working “intensively and cooperative with the Norwegian authorities for the reconstruction and enlightenment of the incident.” The governor’s office is investigating to determine if negligence or other wrongdoing was a factor in the attack.

“We expect that it will take some time to complete the investigation,” Malmo said.

Bears’ dip in pool caught on camera in Sudbury

https://www.thesudburystar.com/news/local-news/bears-dip-in-pool-caught-on-camera-in-sudbury
SHAREADJUSTCOMMENTPRINT

Sunday in Sudbury was hot. How hot? A momma bear and a cub felt compelled to take a quick dip in Vip Palladino’s pool.

Palladino, vice president of Palladino Honda, located on the 990 Kingsway Sudbury, said the bears used his backyard in-ground pool Sunday afternoon.

“Even bears need to cool off on a hot day,” Palladino joked.

Palladino said he was inside his house reading a new novel in his south end home when he heard his neighbour knocking on the door Sunday.

His neighbour asked if he knew he had two bears swimming in his pool. Palladino said no, ran to the window, but the bears had already left. Thankfully, his neighbour took some shots of the momma bear and cub swimming in his pool.

The bears didn’t wreck the lining in the pool and must had only been swimming for five minutes before they decided to leave, Palladino said.

Bears sighting, of course, are not that unusual here, the City of Greater Sudbury said on it website, the city said. The city’s website provides a link for residences who are curious to learn and understand bear behaviour, as well as take steps to avoid any encounters.

According to Ontario.ca, if you feel a bear poses an immediate threat to personal safety, and either enters a school yard when school is in session, enters or tries to enter a home, wanders into public gathering, kills livestock or pets, and stalks people, you should call the local police service.

“Generally bears want to avoid humans. Most encounters are not aggressive and attacks are rare,” the province said on its website.

Non-emergencies should be reported to Bear Wise between the months of April and November at 1-866-514-2327.

Non-emergencies include bears roaming around, checking garbage cans, breaking into a shed where garbage or food is usually stored, in a tree and moving through a backyard or field, but is not lingering.

During December to March, contact your local Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry if you have a concern.

If you want to avoid bear encounters, the website gives you the following steps:

– Do not put your garbage out at night.

– Fill your bird feeders during the winter months.

– Do not leave pet food outdoors or near screened-in areas.

– Pick up fallen and rotten fruit off your property.

– Lastly, make sure your barbecue has burned off any food residue, empty grease trap and remove all dishes after eating if you want to eliminate any possible bear encounters.

If you do happen to encounter a bear, the website said not to panic and assess the situation as a sighting, a surprise or a close encounter.

“When bears are caught off guard, they are stressed and usually just want to flee. Generally the nosier the bear is the less dangerous it is, provided you do not approach the bear. The noise is meant to ‘scare’ you off as a warning signal,” according to the website.

Do not scream, turn your back on the bear, run, kneel down, and make direct eye contact. Also don’t try to climb a tree or retreat into water — a bear can swim much better than you.

Arctic cruise ship guard kills polar bear ‘in an act of self-defence’

Incident occurred when tourists from MS Bremen cruise ship landed in area known for glaciers and wildlife

MS Bremen operator Hapag-Lloyd Cruises said one of its polar bear guards ‘was attacked by a polar bear and injured on his head.’ The animal was then shot dead ‘in an act of self-defence’ by a second guard, a spokesperson said. (Gustav Busch Arntsen/Governor of Svalbard/NTB Scanpix via AP)

Norwegian authorities said a polar bear on Saturday attacked and injured a polar bear guard who was leading tourists off a cruise ship on an Arctic archipelago. The polar bear was shot dead by another employee, the cruise company said.

The Joint Rescue Coordination Centre of Northern Norway tweeted that the attack occurred when the tourists from the MS Bremen cruise ship landed on the most northern island of the Svalbard archipelago, a region between mainland Norway and the North Pole that is known for its remote terrain, glaciers, reindeer and polar bears.

The German Hapag-Lloyd Cruises company, which operates the MS Bremen, told The Associated Press that two polar bear guards from their ship went on the island and one of them “was attacked by a polar bear and injured on his head.”

The polar bear was then shot dead “in an act of self-defence” by the second guard, spokesperson Negar Etminan said.

The injured man was taken by helicopter to the town of Longyearbyen on Spitsbergen island. He was not identified and no further information was given on him.

“He was flown out, was responsive and is currently undergoing medical treatment,” Etminan said, adding that the victim was not in a life-threatening condition.

She said all cruise ships travelling in the northern region are obliged to have polar bear guards on board.

Arctic tourism to the region has risen sharply in the last few years and is now in high season. A Longyearbyen port schedule showed that 18 cruise ships will be docking at the Arctic port in the next week.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/arctic-cruise-guard-kills-polar-1.4766236

Jimmy Kimmel scoop: Donald Trump “hates baby bears”

Jimmy Kimmel scoop: Donald Trump “hates baby bears”

https://www.fastcompany.com/40577274/jimmy-kimmel-scoop-donald-trump-hates-baby-bears

While we know that Donald Trump hates sharks, at least according to Stormy Daniels. Turns out the president also hates baby bears, at least according to Jimmy Kimmel.

Kimmel’s realization came in the wake of news that the Interior Department is ending a ban on hunting hibernating bears and their cubs in their dens. The National Park Service, under Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, apparently has a problem with some of the current protections for black bears, “including cubs and sows with cubs,” that prevent hunters from “harvest practices” that include using bait to lure bears out, using lights to find hibernating animals, and using dogs to kill bear cubs.

The National Park Service now wants to roll back those pesky rules that stop people from killing baby bears for fun, according to a proposal, which was published in the Federal Register on Tuesday. Under the proposed changes, hunters will now be able to hunt black bears with dogs, use motorboats to shoot swimming caribou, and kill wolves and pups in their dens. According to Kimmel, it’s all part of Trump’s plan to make America great again—and get rid of those evil baby bears.

Grande Cache animal lover ‘devastated’ after bear cub euthanized by provincial officials

Groot, a grizzly bear cub discovered by a highway near Grande Cache, was destroyed after a local animal advocate turned it over to provincial wildlife officials. ORG XMIT: nkDgueFEGHZbedIRnR4d EDMONTON

SHAREADJUSTCOMMENTPRINT

A Grande Cache animal advocate is distraught after an abandoned grizzly bear cub she nursed back to health was destroyed by provincial wildlife officials.

“I was absolutely devastated,” said Brandy Gienger of the Grande Cache Animal Society. “I was heartbroken when I passed him over to the fish and game officers because I knew that he was going to be euthanized.

“I knew that (they) were just telling me what I wanted to hear so they didn’t have to create a scene with someone.”

On May 3, a work crew informed Gienger of an abandoned bear cub along Highway 40 near the Sheep Creek Bridge. The animal society called Alberta Fish and Wildlife, who told Gienger to leave the animal because its mother was probably out hunting.

The bear was still there among the rocks three days later. On the fourth day, the cub was gone, so Gienger assumed it had been picked up by its mother or fish and wildlife.

One day later though, someone called to say the bear was still in the same area by the highway. That evening, they went to collect the cub, who they decided to call Groot.

An Alberta wildlife rescue organization said it would work to rehabilitate the starving animal, and instructed Gienger how to care for him. Gienger kept him in a dark kennel to keep him from becoming habituated to humans, and fed him goat’s milk, which the famished bear cub loved.

Groot, a grizzly bear cub discovered by a highway near Grande Cache, was destroyed after a local animal advocate turned it over to provincial wildlife officials.  EDMONTON

By Thursday, they were ready to send the bear to the rescue centre when they got a call that conservation officers were on their way to collect him.

Gienger said she was reluctant because the bear was hours away from heading to a rescue. But she was assured the officials would “take the best interests” of the bear cub and take care of it.

On Friday morning, an apologetic provincial official told Gienger that the bear had been destroyed because he was severely dehydrated and his organs had stopped functioning properly. That ran counter to what Gienger had seen.

In a statement, Alberta Environment and Parks officials said steps were taken to find a facility that would accept a grizzly bear for permanent care, such as a zoo. However, they were unsuccessful, and said they had no choice to euthanize the “emaciated, dehydrated, lethargic” bear which was “near death.”

“This was a very sad situation, but unfortunately, officials felt the most humane thing to do was to limit the animal’s suffering,” the statement reads. “The decision to humanely euthanize this grizzly bear cub was not made lightly.”

Alberta recently approved a rehabilitation protocol for orphaned black bears, the statement added. However, the “rehabilitation requirements for grizzly bears are different, often requiring specialized care for a longer period of time.”

Alberta Fish and Wildlife officers kill grizzly bear cub near Grande Cache

http://vancouversun.com/pmn/news-pmn/canada-news-pmn/alberta-fish-and-wildlife-officers-kill-grizzly-bear-cub-near-grande-cache/wcm/c9e89eb7-ce69-4b71-b3be-08da476d40ca

A rescued grizzly bear cub is seen in this undated handout photo. Concerns are being raised about Alberta’s new policy on rehabilitating bears after a grizzly cub was killed by Fish and Wildlife officers this week. Two women rescued a grizzly bear cub near Grande Cache this week after watching it for five days to see if its mother would return for it. KYLA WOOLLARD / THE CANADIAN PRESS

SHAREADJUSTCOMMENTPRINT

GRANDE CACHE, Alta. — Concerns are being raised about Alberta’s new policy on rehabilitating orphaned bears after a grizzly cub was killed by wildlife officers this week.

The province lifted a ban on private rehabilitation of cubs last month, but it only applies to black bears.

Two women rescued a grizzly bear cub near Grande Cache this week after watching it for five days to see if its mother would return for it. They went down to the area on Wednesday to check on the bear and found it emaciated, weak and starving.

“We brought it home and fed it some goat’s milk,” said Brandy Gienger, who’s with the Grande Cache Animal Society.

They had two rehabilitation facilities that were willing to take the bear, which they named Grout, but provincial wildlife officers showed up Thursday and took the cub away.

Woollard said they were told Friday that the bear has been put down by the officers.

“They just destroyed him,” said Gienger. “I’m devastated. I am absolutely disgusted with this.”

“They didn’t give him a chance at all.”

Officials with the province said in a statement that they tried to find a zoo that would accept the bear under permanent care, but they weren’t able to find one.

“The bear was emaciated, dehydrated, lethargic, and near death and specialists did not believe it would survive,” said the email. “To limit the bear’s suffering, the bear was euthanized.”

Gienger said the bear was responding well after being fed the goat’s milk.

Her friend, Kyla Woollard, said they’ve heard from the province and hope officials can change the orphaned bear policy to include grizzlies.

“I’m still upset at the fact that something that was so innocent had to lose its life,” she said. “When they passed the law to rehabilitate black bears, I feel like they should have made a law to rehabilitate all animals.”

The province recently approved the orphaned black bear protocol, but they said in their statement that every animal is different.

“The rehabilitation requirements for grizzly bears are different, often requiring specialized care for a longer period of time,” they said in the statement.

Grizzly bears were listed as threatened in Alberta in 2010 when it was determined there were only about 700 left. The numbers led to a recovery strategy aimed at reducing the number of deaths caused by people.

–By Colette Derworiz in Edmonton