Global News Journal
Beyond the World news headlines
from Environment Forum:
Most people have seen a polar bear, usually at the local zoo. And most zoo-goers know that wildlife advocates worry about the big white bears' future as their icy Arctic habitat literally melts away as a result of global climate change. But apparently more than the climate is changing above the Arctic Circle.
The new mammal around the North Pole is the grolar bear, a hybrid created when a polar bear and a grizzly bear mate. Then there's the narluga, a hybrid of the narwhal and beluga whale. The presence of these two new creatures and others produced by cross-breeding may be caused when melting sea ice allows them to mingle in ways they couldn't before, according to a comment in the journal Nature.
These hybrids could push some Arctic species to extinction, the three American authors said in their Nature piece. They identified 22 marine mammals at risk of hybridization, including 14 listed or candidates for listing as endangered, threatened or of special concern by one or more nations.
"Some people may say these are just a few freaks. Others will say the sky is falling," lead author Brendan Kelly, of the University of Alaska at Fairbanks, told the Natural Resources Defense Council's OnEarth website.
from Environment Forum:
Zoom! Pan! Swish! Take a look at a new movie of walruses crowding an Alaska beach -- as you've never seen them before! Shot from 4,000 feet up in the air, the vast herd of walruses looks like a pile of brown gravel from a distance. (A far different view than the extreme close-up in the still photo at left, which was taken at a zoo in Belarus.)
As the camera in Alaska zooms in, you can see there are thousands of walruses scrambling ashore as the ice floes they normally use as hunting platforms melt away. The video was shot this month at Point Lay, Alaska, and distributed this week by the U.S. Geological Survey. It's impossible to say how many are on this beach in this movie, but an Arctic scientist at World Wildlife Fund estimates between 10,000 and 20,000 of the tusked marine mammals have hauled themselves onto land in Alaska this year as summer Arctic sea ice shrank to its third-smallest recorded size.
When we told Reuters editors we’d be adding plenty of color to the stories we’re putting together from a G7 finance meeting in the Canadian Arctic this weekend, there was a split second of bemused silence on the line. “I suppose that color is mostly white,” said one wag. And that just about sums up Iqaluit, which is clearly the remotest and most inaccessible place where the Group of Seven finance ministers and central bankers have ever met.
Iqaluit, for the geographically challenged, is a town of some 6,000 people about three hours flight from either Ottawa or Montreal. (Greenland might be closer but you would have to get to Greenland first.) At this time of year, the snow is everywhere — gray-white on the roads, blue-white in the shadows and a sort of yellow-white when the watery sun hits it full on. The temperature is a balmy -15C today (0F), although there’s a wind that bites right through you, and it’s chilly enough that you really don’t want to take your gloves off for more than one picture before your fingers start to freeze.