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Conservationist sounds alarm over polar bears; Kivalliq Wildlife Board chair says bears 'can adapt to anything' – Northern News Services

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A Norwegian conservationist and author is arguing that the selective hunting of polar bears for size and fur quality poses a threat to the animals’ welfare in addition to climate change.

Polar bears are threatened not only by climate change but by trophy hunting, according to Norwegian conservationist and author Ole J. Liodden. Stanley Adjuk, chair of the Kivalliq Wildlife Board, says the predators are thriving, adaptable and pose a danger to humans that cannot be ignored.
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“It’s not only about the number of polar bears killed, but which animals are targeted,” stated Ole J. Liodden, who wrote the 2019 book Polar Bears and Humans.

He cited data showing that 1,736 polar bears were slain in Nunavut trophy hunts between 1970-2016. Resolute was the most active community with 392 trophy kills followed by Coral Harbour with 231 and Grise Fiord with 216.

“It is politically incorrect to question the Inuit or the polar bear management, especially questioning definitions like ‘sustainable harvest’ and ‘subsistence harvest,’” Liodden wrote. “In Inuit traditions it was important for polar bear hunters to treat the polar bears with respect, before and after death. Killing for fun was not in harmony with tradition and many Inuit hunters and leaders were, and still are, against the trophy hunting industry.”

Stanley Adjuk, chair of the Kivalliq Wildlife Board, said there are “very few” trophy hunts in the Kivalliq region with only one community’s hunters and trappers organization allowing them, as far as he’s aware.

The greatest concern relating to polar bears is the danger they pose to humans, Adjuk said. A polar bear killed one man near Arviat in July 2018, another man was slain outside of Naujaat in August 2018.

“It’s for the safety of the public that we want to reduce our polar bear population,” said Adjuk.

Despite much publicity over the hazards associated with climate change, he remains confident that the predators will endure.

“I know a lot of activist or scientists that are animal lovers think (polar bears) are going to disappear in an instant but that is not the case with us,” Adjuk said. “In Inuit knowledge we know that bears can adapt to anything. The Inuit are scientists of the animals that we live with.

“When I was a kid growing up, there was hardly any polar bears. Now today there’s too many polar bears everywhere.

“The bears in our region are healthy. The population is not just healthy but… the bears are not starving,” said Adjuk, who resides in Whale Cove.

Bobby Greenley, chair of the Ekaluktutiak Hunters and Trappers Organization in Cambridge Bay, said there’s no trophy hunts in his community either. Like Adjuk, he said residents are reporting that they’re seeing more and more bears in the area.

Polar bear harvests are co-managed in Nunavut by the Department of Environment and the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board. The total number of bears killed in 2017-18, the most recent available through government statistics, was 417 out of 484 permitted. Of those, 62 were sports hunts.

Approximately 16,000 polar bears exist in Canada out of an estimated 26,000 worldwide.

The trade of polar bear hides is regulated by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

“In order to export polar bear products, Canada must prove trade has no detrimental impact on its polar bear populations,” according to the Department of Environment. “Exports would be banned in the event of a conservation concern due to trade or harvesting under this agreement.”

Is ecotourism the answer?

The economic value of polar bear hunting in the Canadian Arctic since 2009 has amounted to less than $900,000 annually when the value of the meat is also included, according to Liodden. Fifty-two percent of the revenue from trophy hunts goes to the local community, he stated. Only three of 25 Inuit communities in Canada derive more than five per cent of their overall income from polar bear trophy hunting, he calculated.

“For most Inuit settlements polar bear trophy hunting has little to no limited economic value,” Liodden stated.

However, trophy hunting can have a detrimental effect on polar bears based on the example of a sub-population in the area of Melville Island and northern Victoria Island. Liodden attributed a substantial drop in male numbers between the mid-1970s and early 1990s to sports hunts combined with regular harvests. Eighty-four of the animals were shot by trophy hunters between 1982-’91, according to Liodden.

He urges Inuit to consider the lucrative polar bear ecotourism industry in northeastern Alaska that grew to a value of approximately $1.5 million U.S. in 2016, surpassing the value of polar bear trophy hunting in Canada’s Arctic.

Adjuk is no fan of mixing ecotourism and polar bears. He blames that industry for making bears feel more comfortable around people.

“They have less fear toward humans and coming into communities,” he said. “With tourism going on all the time, we the Inuks who live in the region start paying a price for it.”

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Scientists observe total solar eclipse in Antarctica – Global Times

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Scientists from the Chilean Union Glacier Station observe a total solar eclipse in Antarctica, Dec. 4, 2021.Photo:Xinhua

 
Scientists from the Chilean Union Glacier Station observe a total solar eclipse in Antarctica, Dec. 4, 2021.Photo:Xinhua

Scientists from the Chilean Union Glacier Station observe a total solar eclipse in Antarctica, Dec. 4, 2021.Photo:Xinhua

 

Scientists from the Chilean Union Glacier Station observe a total solar eclipse in Antarctica, Dec. 4, 2021.Photo:Xinhua

Scientists from the Chilean Union Glacier Station observe a total solar eclipse in Antarctica, Dec. 4, 2021.Photo:Xinhua

 

Photo taken from Chilean Union Glacier Station in Antarctica on Dec. 4, 2021 shows a total solar eclipse.Photo:Xinhua

Photo taken from Chilean Union Glacier Station in Antarctica on Dec. 4, 2021 shows a total solar eclipse.Photo:Xinhua

 

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Dinosaur Tail Found In Chile Could Point To Discovery Of New Species – NDTV

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Paleontologists have discovered 80 percent of the dinosaur’s skeleton.

Santiago:

Chilean paleontologists on Wednesday presented their findings on a dinosaur discovered three years ago in Patagonia which they said had a highly unusual tail that has stumped researchers.

The remains of the Stegouros elengassen were discovered during excavations in 2018 at Cerro Guido, a site known to harbor numerous fossils, by a team who believed they were dealing with an already known species of dinosaur until they examined its tail.

“That was the main surprise,” said Alexander Vargas, one of the paleontologists. “This structure is absolutely amazing.”

“The tail was covered with seven pairs of osteoderms … producing a weapon absolutely different from anything we know in any dinosaur,” added the researcher during a presentation of the discovery at the University of Chile.

The osteoderms — structures of bony plaques located in the dermal layers of the skin – were aligned on either side of the tail, making it resemble a large fern.

Paleontologists have discovered 80 percent of the dinosaur’s skeleton and estimate that the animal lived in the area 71 to 74.9 million years ago. It was about two meters (almost seven feet) long, weighed 150 kilograms (330 pounds) and was a herbivore.

According to the scientists, who published their research in the journal Nature, the animal could represent a hitherto unknown lineage of armored dinosaur never seen in the southern hemisphere but already identified in the northern part of the continent.

“We don’t know why (the tail) evolved. We do know that within armored dinosaur groups there seems to be a tendency to independently develop different osteoderm-based defense mechanisms,” said Sergio Soto, another member of the team.

The Cerro Guido area, in the Las Chinas valley 3,000 km (1,800 miles) south of Santiago, stretches for 15 kilometers. Various rock outcrops contain numerous fossils.

The finds there allowed the scientists to surmise that present-day America and Antarctica were close to each other millions of years ago.

“There is strong evidence that there is a biogeographic link with other parts of the planet, in this case Antarctica and Australia, because we have two armored dinosaurs there closely related” to the Stegouros, said Soto.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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Chinese Rover Exploring What Appears to Be Cube-Shaped Object on Moon – Futurism

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There’s a Moon cube now! At least, it looks that way based on some intriguing photos from the Chinese lunar rover Yutu-2, released by the country’s space agency this week.

The photos show a distant object that looks like a perfect cube, and China say the rover is headed to check it out.

It’s worth worth noting a few caveats about the photo, spotted yesterday by space journalist Andrew Jones, who described the formation as a “cubic shape.” For one thing, the object is just a few pixels in the photo, meaning it could easily be some sort of optical illusion that’ll be a disappointment up close.

And China has struggled with lunar science communication in the past. In 2019, Yutu-2 “discovered” a “gel-like substance” on the lunar surface, but upon closer inspection it turned out to be, well, rocks. It also trumpeted the discover of a “shard” on the Moon earlier this year, but that turned out to just be another interesting rock. Did we mention that there’s not a lot other than rocks on the Moon?

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Jones, for his part, is managing expectations.

“So yeah, it’s not an obelisk or aliens, but certainly something to check out,” Jones tweeted in followup.

The idea of alien artifacts on the Moon runs deep in popular culture — remember that one scene in “2001: A Space Odyssey”? — but, needless to say, none have been found in reality.

The apparent cube sits in the Von Kármán crater, and China’s space program has been dubbed it, evocatively, the “mystery house.”

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Yutu-2 will spend two or three lunar days traveling to investigate the cube; lunar days are about 50 minutes longer than solar days on Earth.

Jones speculated that the object could be a boulder carved out by an asteroid impact, and posted a photo of a similarly sharply defined boulder found previously on the Moon’s surface.

CNET’s coverage of the most recent discovery agrees with Jones’ analysis, saying the most likely explanation is that the Moon cube is a boulder.

That’s not to say Yutu-2 hasn’t ever found anything cool. In 2019, CNET reported the rover discovered that the Moon’s surface was made of different materials than we previously thought, a discovery that could better predict how Earth’s internal layers might change over time.

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We’re not saying there isn’t weird stuff on the Moon. After all, we just recently found enough buried oxygen under its surface to sustain billions of people. But suffice it to say we aren’t holding our breath over Moon cube, and if it turns out to be anything other than a rock we’ll be really impressed.

More on space: Scientists Discover Enormous Black Hole Right Near Our Galaxy

Care about supporting clean energy adoption? Find out how much money (and planet!) you could save by switching to solar power at UnderstandSolar.com. By signing up through this link, Futurism.com may receive a small commission.

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