Logging threatens Canadian endangered caribou

This 2011 video from Canada says about itself:

Woodland caribou numbers are declining across Canada. Five key threats have been identified for populations found in the mountain national parks of Banff, Glacier, Jasper and Mount Revelstoke. Parks Canada is working hard to reduce these threats and keep woodland caribou on the mountain landscapes.

From the University of Guelph in Canada:

Logging threatening endangered caribou

April 15, 2020

Summary: Researchers found habitat and food web changes from forestry are encouraging more wolf packs to prey on caribou. Researchers attached video and GPS-tracking radio collars to caribou and wolves to monitor foraging and movements, including signs wolves had killed a caribou. Overs 6 years they collected and compared data from a site with extensive logging and a site untouched by forestry and found caribou in the disturbed site were not self-sustaining.

Cutting down forests means we’re also cutting down woodland caribou, says a pioneering study by University of Guelph ecologists showing that logging in Ontario’s extensive boreal stands threatens populations of the elusive but iconic herbivore.

In what integrative biology professor John Fryxell calls the first comprehensive study looking at the status of endangered woodland caribou across Ontario, the team found habitat and food web changes caused by forestry are encouraging more wolf packs to prey on caribou. Labelling the study a “clarion call” for conservation measures, he said the new paper shows how human activity, particularly logging, is upsetting food webs and habitat involving caribou, wolves and moose.

“It’s death by a million cuts,” said Fryxell. “Woodland caribou are an iconic species in Indigenous culture, integral to our historical development and a cornerstone in the functioning of boreal food webs. I think of the caribou as a canary in the coal mine for the long-term sustainability and quality of the boreal forest to protect other wildlife.”

Published recently in the Journal of Wildlife Management, the study entailed attaching video collars to 30 caribou to monitor their foraging. The researchers also outfitted about 120 caribou and 50 wolves with regular GPS-tracking radio collars to monitor the animals’ movements, including signs that wolves likely had killed a caribou.

Ontario’s woodland caribou number several thousand animals. An officially endangered species, woodland caribou live below the tree line across most of Canada except the Atlantic provinces.

Logging has moved northward in Ontario over recent decades. As cut forests regrow, their mix of new trees and shrubs attracts moose. Higher moose populations in turn attract wolves, placing caribou at risk of being hunted as well.

Those caribou could move farther north, said Fryxell, but perhaps not soon enough to sustain their numbers.

Over six years, the team studied two sites in northern Ontario spanning about 23,000 square kilometres in all.

One site in Nakina, located about 160 kilometres north of Lake Superior, has been logged extensively since 1970. Regenerating forests contain more deciduous trees such as poplar and willow as well as thicker undergrowth.

The Pickle Lake site, dominated by stands of jack pine, is located about a seven-hour drive from Thunder Bay, beyond the northern limit for forestry. That made for a perfect natural experiment for the researchers to compare conditions in both locations.

To see what caribou might be eating, they sampled kinds of plants growing in each site and analyzed the footage collected from the video collars, or “critter cams”. Caribou eat mostly lichen on the ground and growing on trees.

The researchers also analyzed the information collected from the GPS-tracking radio collars on wolves. Multiple pings from a single spot over an extended period “usually means they’re eating something,” said Fryxell.

Team members then visited those sites to verify what prey had been eaten.

The researchers entered their information into computer models that estimate whether a caribou population will produce enough young to sustain itself or not. They found that caribou in the disturbed site were not self-sustaining, unlike healthier populations at Pickle Lake.

Fryxell said the results likely would apply farther north in Ontario and in other parts of Canada where woodland caribou are endangered by resource extraction.

He said forestry companies need to consider the long-term effects of their operations on plants and animals. Companies should practice rotation cutting to prevent clear-cutting and allow forests to regenerate, said Fryxell.

More immediately, resource managers might need to consider … hindering [wolves’] movements by turning old logging roads back into forest.

He said there’s no evidence that either wolves or moose are threatened.

With plans for further development of Northern Ontario communities, Fryxell hopes to see governments, conservationists, Indigenous groups, industry and others work together to address threats to woodland caribou. “We have an opportunity to learn from what was done in the past to manage better in the future.”

Striking Canadian teachers interviewed

This 21 February 2020 video from Canada is called Construction worker supports striking Ontario teachers.

From the World Socialist Web Site in Canada:

Two hundred thousand Canadian teachers strike, as global worker counter-offensive continues

By a WSWS reporting team

22 February 2020

Two hundred thousand Ontario teachers and school support staff joined a one-day province-wide strike Friday.

Striking teachers march around Queens Park in Toronto, Canada

The education workers are leading opposition to the sweeping austerity measures that are being implemented by Ontario’s Progressive Conservative government and its premier, the Trump admirer and multi-millionaire businessman Doug Ford.

As part of its drive to “make Ontario open for business”, the Ford government is cutting almost a billion dollars per year from education spending, dramatically increasing high school class-sizes, eliminating 10,000 teaching positions, and seeking to impose mandatory on-line courses.

Teachers and school support staff are also a primary target of the government’s mendaciously named “Protecting a Sustainable Public Sector for Future Generations Act.” Through this law, the government is imposing real wage and benefit cuts on more than a million public sector workers, by legally capping their wage and benefit increases to well below the inflation rate for each of the next three years. At the same time, it is funneling still more money to the rich through corporate and income tax cuts.

Since 2018, and as part of the resurgence of class struggle worldwide, a wave of teacher strikes has swept the globe. Teachers and college instructors have engaged in strike action in all six continents, from Chile and Argentine to the US, Britain, Holland, Iran and India. Teachers went on strike in Colombia’s major cities Thursday and Friday to demand improved wages, health care, and the government’s compliance with previous agreements.

A section of the protest in Toronto

If education workers find themselves in the forefront of the opposition to austerity, it is because capitalist governments view the dismantling of public education as a key element in their evisceration of all the social rights of the working class.

As one striking Toronto teacher told the World Socialist Web Site yesterday, “If you can privatize education, you can privatize anything.”

… In Santa Cruz, University of California graduate teaching assistants are currently mounting a wildcat strike in defiance of the no-strike clause in the contract negotiated by the United Auto Workers (UAW) union.

Yesterday’s walkout closed all of Ontario’s 5,000 publicly funded elementary and secondary schools, impacting two million students.

There is great militancy among the teachers and educational support workers and mass popular support for their stand in defence of public education.

This 21 February 2020 video from Ontario is called Parents show support for striking teachers.

More than 30,000 teachers and their supporters rallied yesterday outside Queen’s Park, the provincial legislature in downtown Toronto. An estimated 20,000 more held a mass picket along a kilometers-long stretch of highway in Toronto’s sprawling Peel County suburbs, and 10,000 rallied in Kitchener-Waterloo, a regional center in south-western Ontario.

Many teachers brought hand-made signs that expressed their anger with the government and pointed to the devastating impact of the cuts and their blatant class character. Diana, a French-language immersion school teacher, told the WSWS, “The slogan on the Ontario license plate says, ‘A place to grow’. But it’s only a place to grow for those with money. Ford is cutting public education because they want to control poor people by keeping our kids ignorant.”

Diana, Paula and fellow teachers

Teachers who spoke with WSWS reporters at the Toronto rally expressed great interest in and solidarity with the struggles of teachers around the world to defend public education. Groups of teachers could be heard singing “We’re not gonna take it,” one of the main protest songs sung by West Virginia teachers during their 2018 wildcat strike. …

Ford and Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce have repeatedly threatened to criminalize all job action by the teachers and support staff and impose their cuts by government decree. For weeks, their standard refrain has been “there is still time for a negotiated agreement.” Yesterday, Ford stepped up the Conservatives‘ and corporate media’s smear campaign accusing teachers of taking children “hostage” for resisting the assault on public education and declared the strike “unacceptable”. …

Sonia, a high school teacher, told the WSWS, “All public sector workers need to unite. The only public employees Ford is backing is the police. There are sinister reasons for this. So far, these protests have been peaceful and lighthearted, but there is a potential that things could become more tense. We saw it with [federal Conservative leader] Andrew Scheer who said the RCMP [Royal Canadian Mounted Police] should be sent against the [indigenous] Wet’suwet’en protesters blocking the rail lines. In the US, Trump says he has the police, the border patrol and law enforcement on his side. Ford wants to do the same.”


Rob, a high school teacher who spoked with a WSWS reporter at the Kitchener-Waterloo rally, discussed the government threat to legislate an end to the teachers’ struggle. “I haven’t talked with many teachers about what we would do or should do if Ford ordered us back to work. And I didn’t hear anything from the speeches today up on the stage about it. They told us that we do such a great job as educators. Sure, that’s true. They said how hard we work. True again. But I was expecting to hear something about what we do next. Other than a couple who mentioned not voting for Ford in two years, I didn’t hear anything. I want to know what we do next, not what might happen in a couple of years.”


Paul, a retired teacher with 30 years in the Toronto school district, said, “If you downgrade education, you downgrade democracy. They are dis-empowering the working class. Trump reminds me of fascists in Germany, diverting anger towards immigrants, and Ford is nothing but the Trump of the North. We have to stop them because every child deserves to have an education and a good future.”

Ruffed grouse’s display at Canadian bird feeder

This video from Canada says about itself:

Ruffed Grouse Makes Amazing Display For Ontario FeederWatch Cam! – Feb. 12, 2020

Well hello there! It’s always a treat when a Ruffed Grouse stops by the Ontario FeederWatch cam, and this individual isn’t shy about showing off its cocked crest and beautifully mottled plumage while strutting around the platform. You absolutely don’t want to miss when the grouse begins to display at 6:33 by fanning its tail feathers and erecting the glossy black feathers on its neck into a ruff!

Purple finches and blue jay in Canada

This video from Canada says about itself:

Purple Finches Interrupted By Blue Jay In Ontario – Jan. 17, 2020

A small flock of female Purple Finches enjoy the bounty of the feeder platform before a Blue Jay’s arrival drives them away. These small, chunky finches inhabit evergreen and mixed forests where they forage on the seeds of coniferous trees and elms, tulip poplars, maples, and others.

Canadian flying squirrel flies to bird feeder

This 9 January 2020 video from Canada says about itself:

Incredible Flight and Landing by Flying Squirrel on the #OntarioFeederWatch Cam | Cornell Lab

In this short clip, a flying squirrel perches some distance from the feeder and is viewable in the background before making an impressive leap onto the feeding platform. After foraging on the platform for a few minutes, the squirrel departs, jumping off onto the ground and out of sight.

Canada jay at Canadian bird feeder

This video from Canada says about itself:

Canada Jay Visits Ontario Feeder – Jan 3, 2020

A Canada Jay displaces a Blue Jay on the Ontario FeederWatch Cam. Canada Jays are highly curious birds and seemingly always on the lookout for food. They are known for their intrepid nature and diverse appetite. During the summer months, they hoard food for the winter.

Purple finches at Canadian feeders

This video from Canada says about itself:

Purple Finches Paint Ontario Feeders With Raspberry Red And Earthy Brown – Nov. 14, 2019

Enjoy this flock of Purple Finches as they dine at the feeder tray on the Ontario FeederWatch cam. Male Purple Finches are delicate pink-red on the head and breast, mixing with brown on the back and cloudy white on the belly. Female Purple Finches have no red. They are coarsely streaked below, with strong facial markings including a whitish eyestripe and a dark line down the side of the throat.

Ecopassages save Canadian rattlesnakes’ lives

This 20 February 2019 video from Canada says about itself:

The Clever Idea That’s Reducing Rattlesnake Casualties

Ecopassages, which help snakes cross roads safely, have helped dramatically limit the number of snakes killed in Ontario. Here’s how they work.