Defenders Magazine

Winter 2010

Volume 85, Issue 1

Feature

I awoke at dawn on the Ambler River in northwest Arctic Alaska. Something was moving just outside the tent. Slipping from my sleeping bag, I unzipped the tent door and peered around a fringe of autumn-bright willow. Instead of the caribou I'd expected, there stood a lone gray wolf, nose to the riverbank. It lifted its head and stared at me with intent green eyes. A stone's toss apart, we studied each other in the morning silence. At last the animal—a young female, I guessed from its narrow build—turned and trotted off, north up the mountain-rimmed valley. I watched her, as grateful as I had been when I met my first wild Alaska wolf 30 years ago. Even in the remote Arctic, glimpsing Canis lupus at close range is a rare experience. I've known many people who've lived for decades in wolf country and never seen more than tracks. Despite this, wolf populations in several parts of Alaska (along with grizzly and black bear numbers in some regions) are being reduced by a controversial, escalating predator-control program.

Articles

Offshore wind power is a promising clean energy source, but can it be made safe for birds?
As the planet warms, protecting rivers in the arid Southwest becomes even more crucial
Once every three years, representatives gather from the 175 nations that have signed on to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
Once every three years, representatives gather from the 175 nations that have signed on to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
In the back room, endangered pangolins—scaly, armored mammals native to Southeast Asia and parts of Africa—were being "processed." The armadillo-like animals were skinned; their valuable scales removed; organs, blood and fetuses separated out; and the remaining meat boiled.
Along Highway 160 in southwestern Colorado, the movement of deer and elk mark the changing seasons.
Dwelling high in western mountains, American pikas bear little resemblance to their closest cousin—the rabbit.
The canine carnage continued in the northern Rockies this fall: As this issue went to press, more than 180 wolves had been killed in Montana and Idaho, eight of them just outside the border of Yellowstone National Park.
A new poison is on the menu in Great Plains states, where ranchers claim that burrowing, grass-eating prairie dogs degrade pasture land.
[T]hose who also care about the survival of the greatest wild cats, dogs and wolves of the world hope that The Great Cats and Rare Canids Act will pass in the Senate in 2010.
After being hunted to near extinction about a century ago, sea otters have struggled to recover—facing threats such as oil spills, fishing gear entrapment, food supply shortages and diseases.
Lynx Driven to the Brink; The Right Thing to Do; Living with Wildlife