Earth Touch News: Why did the bear cross the road? To find a mate on the other side

Grizzly bear family using Overpass. Photo: Banff Wildlife Crossings Project.

Earth Touch News, March 20th, 2014 Dr. Michael Sawaya about to pour blood and guts over a pile of wood inside a maze of barbed wire. This “hair trap” is effective when collecting samples for genetic testing. Not far from the Trans-Canada Highway in Banff National Park, Dr. Mike Sawaya, a researcher with Parks Canada, ran into five grizzly bears while setting a trap to collect grizzly and black bear hair. The trap was strategically placed in a buffalo berry patch, a favourite bear food, and used rotting…

Jasper Fitzhugh: Bridges to Bear Love

Grizzly bear family using new overpass. Photo: Banff Wildlife Crossing Project.

From the Jasper Fitzhugh, March 5, 2014. As the days stretch longer this March, the bears of the Canadian Rockies will begin their slow emergence from winter dens in search of the first green shoots of spring. As April turns to May, they will begin using scent to locate mates—their sense of smell guiding them through vast home ranges that stretch hundreds of kilometres. Finding a mate is hard enough, but in Banff National Park, bear habitat is bisected by the Trans Canada Highway, a…

Earth Touch News: Why the bird with the coolest swagger is disappearing from Canada

Sage Grouse. Image: Dan Dzurisin, Flickr

Published January 20th by Earth Touch News Network (here) The sound emanating from a male greater sage-grouse during his mating display is akin to what you might hear if you rubbed nylon coats together a few times, and then added a little ‘whoop! blop!’ at the end. Males undulate their white downy chest feathers while inflating yolk-yellow air sacs like balloons. Between puffs, they strut around attempting to intimidate their competitors, flapping their wings and running one another backward. …..Keep reading.

Jasper Fitzhugh: Southern pikas beat the heat

A rabbit relative known as a pika sits among wood, moss and rocks on rockslide or talus slope in Oregon’s Columbia River Gorge. A University of Utah study found the pikas -- which normally live at much higher elevations and are threatened by climate change – survive at nearly sea level in Oregon by eating more moss than any other known wild mammal.

Photo Credit: Mallory Lambert, University of Utah

  Imagine you’re hiking through the alpine on a summer day. As you pass a rockslide, you hear a shrill EEEEEEEEEP. It’s the high-pitched alarm call of the pika, letting his buddies know a large, awkward mammal is lumbering down the trail. If you’re lucky, you’ll see him poke his cute, big-eared head out from behind a rock, just to let you know he means business. However, on a really hot day, he might not be so keen to say hello. After temperatures reach the…

Earth Touch News: Humans are Getting In the Way of Wolverines

Wolverine near hair trap. Photo: JAlberta Innovates - Technology Futures.

Published January 20th by Earth Touch News Network (here). Wolverines are big weasels with an even bigger attitude. Legendary for their ferocity, they are rumoured to willingly fight wolves and grizzly bears to defend or scavenge prey. Yet despite their fierce reputation, new research from Dr. Jason Fisher and Nicole Heim, scientists at Canada’s Alberta Innovates & Tech Futures, suggests wolverines are wary when it comes to human development. “Wolverine distribution along the Rockies is unexpectedly close to the border of protected areas,” says Fisher….

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