When British explorer Capt. James Cook first visited Southeast in 1778, Tlingit traders gave him animal hides that had never been seen by Europeans. He thought they were white bears. Instead they were mountain goats. Because mountain goats' natural range only includes the rugged mountains of northwest North America, these shaggy, sure-footed animals were a mystery to early explorers in Alaska. In fact, little was known about this uniquely American animal before 1900.
...the online publication, Alaska Wildlife News. His column on natural history and wildlife viewing appears every other Sunday in the Juneau Empire. For comments or questions, he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .
...long as they stay out of my vegetables." Riley Woodford works for the Division of Wildlife Conservation at the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. For comments or questions, he can be reached at email@example.com .
Reuben Yost can count the eyelashes on a Steller sea lion 50 miles away. Yost is monitoring a sea lion rookery at Grand Point between Haines and Juneau. One route for a proposed highway up Lynn Canal passes by Grand Point near the Katzehin River, and Yost is tracking sea lions' seasonal occupation of the site for the Alaska Department of Transportation. Reports from pilots flying over the rookery used to be one of his best sources of information. These days, Yost watches sea lions using a robotic solar- and wind- powered camera system set up on the rocks.
A half-dozen merganser ducklings paddled behind their mother in the brackish waters of the Peterson Creek Salt Chuck last week.
Lemmings do not commit mass suicide. It's a myth, but it's remarkable how many people believe it. Ask a few. "It's a complete urban legend," said state wildlife biologist Thomas McDonough. "I think it blew out of proportion based on a Disney documentary in the '50s, and that brought it to the mainstream."
On a brushy hillside in the wilds of Chichagof Island, five excited scientists watched a brown bear cub reach out her paws and pull down a devil's club stalk. Her mouth appeared to be just inches away as she gingerly nibbled off the berries. "She's very delicate with her lips," said state bear researcher LaVern Beier.
The wolf puppy was fishing in the intertidal zone, working the riffles where salmon were exposed in the shallow stream.
Six new Alaska biology teachers are skeletons, thanks to students at Burchell High School. During the past year, road-killed and donated moose, bears and wolves have been de-boned at the Wasilla alternative high school. Science teacher Tim Lundt's anatomy students transformed the carcasses into six polished, re-usable skeleton kits. Three kits - one of each animal - will stay with Lundt's anatomy class, while the other three will be at the Palmer office of the Department of Fish and Game for teachers to check out.
On a crisp morning this fall, biologist Stacy Jenkins tucked two oversized baby bottles under her arms and rallied her reinforcements. Her three babies were just a few months old, but they were pushy, hungry and well over 100 pounds each.
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