Ruffed grouse in Canada


This 19 December 2017 video shows a ruffed grouse feeding in Canada.

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Snowshoe hare in Canada


This 21 December 2017 video is about an encounter with a beautiful snowshoe hare in Canada.

Hares no longer turning white during winter due to impact of climate change. Small number of animals no longer develop winter pelt in more southerly populations: here.

Snowy owl in Canada


This 30 November 2017 video from Canada is called INTO NATURE Ep.38 : In search of Snowy Owl. Featuring also white-tailed deer, American crow and snow buntings.

One of the more eye-catching updates in the 2017 IUCN Red List paints a worrying picture for one of the world’s most familiar species. The Snowy Owl, an Arctic-nesting species with a range that spans the northern hemisphere, has been classed as Vulnerable for the first time: here.

Canadian Cold War homophobia, apology at last


This video says about itself:

Homophobia remains pervasive in Canadian sports

9 May 2015

New study suggests anti-gay attitudes are deterring young people from being active in some athletic fields.

Click here for the full story.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

Canadian apologies for homophobia in Cold War years

Today, 10:57

Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau has apologized to the LGBT community in his country for the hostile treatment of homosexuals in the government during the Cold War.

The prime minister focused mainly on civil servants, soldiers and police officers who were harassed or sacked between the end of the Second World War and the early 90s because of their sexual orientation. …

So, the governmental homophobia continued even when the Soviet Union did not exist any more.

From 1950, government employees who were thought to be gay were monitored and questioned on the orders of the Canadian government. In 40 years, thousands of them have been fired or intimidated so that they left themselves. The witch hunt – in the words of Trudeau – followed from the assumption that gays were more sensitive than others for blackmail by the enemies of Canada. …

Interest groups for LGBT rights have long requested rehabilitation of those involved and have now responded with relief to Trudeau’s apologies.

Unfortunately, quite some of the victims are dead by now.

Grizzly bears need overpasses to cross roads


This video from Canada says about itself:

13 June 2014

As you travel through Banff National Park animals are travelling too — over your roof and under your wheels. Wildlife crossing structures and highway fencing in Banff National Park have reduced large animal deaths by more than 80%. So which animals adopted crossing structures first? Who prefers overpasses versus underpasses? Find out here through the lens of a remote camera that captured five years of wildlife movement on an overpass in Banff National Park near Redearth Creek.

From the University of British Columbia Okanagan campus in Canada:

Family-friendly overpasses are needed to help grizzly bears, study suggests

Design of wildlife road crossings is crucial for protecting grizzlies

November 27, 2017

Researchers have determined how female grizzly bears keep their cubs safe while crossing the Trans-Canada Highway.

Adam Ford, Canada Research Chair in Wildlife Restoration Ecology at UBC‘s Okanagan campus, along with Montana State University‘s Tony Clevenger, studied the travel patterns of grizzlies in Banff National Park between 1997 and 2014. In most cases, a mother bear travelling with cubs opted to use a wildlife overpass instead of a tunnel to cross the highway.

“We used data from Canada’s longest and most detailed study of road-wildlife interactions,” explains Ford, an assistant professor of biology. “We found that grizzly bear females and cubs preferred to use overpasses to cross the highway.”

During the 17-year study period, bears not travelling in these family groups used both underpasses and overpasses. “You can’t just build a tunnel under a highway and expect to conserve bears,” says Ford. “Our work shows that the design of structures used to get bears across the road matters for reconnecting grizzly bear populations.”

The study looked at five different wildlife crossing structure designs distributed across 44 sites along a 100-km stretch of the Trans-Canada Highway. The structures are purpose-built bridges or tunnels to facilitate the safe movement of animals across roads. Tracking and motion-triggered cameras were used to monitor grizzly bear movement and Ford says all grizzly bears selected larger and more open structures like overpasses and open-span bridges, compared to tunnels and box culverts.

“Since adult females and cubs drive population growth, this research tells us that overpasses are needed to protect bears in roaded areas,” says Ford.

The study also documents the most cost-effective means to design highway mitigation. A common concern in conservation is how to allocate funding to bring the most effective gains for biodiversity. The researchers estimated the cost-effectiveness of structure designs and were surprised by the result.

“When we look at the population as a whole, there were a lot of passages made by males in box culverts, which is the cheapest type of structure to build,” explains Clevenger, stressing that a diversity of wildlife crossing structure designs along a highway is essential.

“It’s important to reduce the chances of adult males encountering cubs since the males will kill young bears,” Clevenger adds. “Creating both ‘bachelor’ and ‘family’-friendly designs will further help bear populations grow.”

This peer-reviewed study was published online this week in the Wildlife Society Bulletin.

Bowhead whale behaviour, new study


This 22 November 2017 video is called Bowhead whales come to Cumberland Sound in Canadian Arctic to exfoliate.

From the University of British Columbia in Canada:

Bowhead whales come to Cumberland Sound in Nunavut to exfoliate

November 22, 2017

Aerial drone footage of bowhead whales in Canada’s Arctic has revealed that the large mammals molt and use rocks to rub off dead skin.

The footage provides one answer to the mystery of why whales return to Cumberland Sound, Nunavut, every summer, and helps explain some unusual behavior that has been noted historically by Inuit and commercial whalers living and working in the area.

“This was an incidental observation,” said Sarah Fortune, a PhD student at UBC’s Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries and lead author of a new study based on the findings. “We were there to document their prey and feeding behavior, but we noticed some strange behavior near the shore.”

Fortune and her colleagues — William Koski, a whale biologist with LGL Limited, and local Inuit hunters and fishers from Pangnirtung — watched from a boat as the whales turned on their sides and waved their flippers and tails in the air. It was clear the whales weren’t there just to feed.

When the researchers sent drones up to record the animals from above, they saw large boulders underwater and realized that the whales were rubbing against rocks to remove dead skin.

“We now know that Cumberland Sound serves as a habitat for feeding and molting,” said Fortune. “Very little is known about molting in any of the large whale species.”

The warmer coastal waters of summer might help facilitate molting, Fortune says. Ocean temperatures are expected to rise, and the change could have implications for the timing, duration and energy needed for molting, as well as the whales’ diets.

As oceans change, relatively large-bodied, fatty Arctic crustaceans known as zooplankton the preferred prey of bowhead whales could move to new habitats further north while smaller-bodied, temperate species that are lower in energy are likely to dominate the waters. Scientists don’t know how whales will adapt to the changing environment.

Fortune hopes to conduct further studies to determine whether bowhead whales molt primarily during summer months, and throughout their range.

Bowhead whales are the longest-living marine mammals on the planet, with lifespans up to 200 years.

See (and hear) the stunning diversity of bowhead whales’ songs. The animals sing 184 different melodies in the dark waters beneath Arctic ice. By Helen Thompson, 7:00am, April 30, 2018.