Canada’s Starving Grizzlies Mean Low Salmon Stock
The effect the climate crisis will have on the food chain are already playing out in British Columbia. Low fish stocks this summer have caused southern resident killer whales to starve. And now, with winter fast approaching, a photographer captured images of an emaciated family of grizzly bears desperately searching for salmon where there are none, as CNN reported.
While the bears should be plump after gorging on salmon, the area around Knight Inlet, where the photographs were taken has suffered one of its worst salmon runs ever.
"We're really concerned about the bears," said Jake Smith, Guardian Watchman Manager for the Mamalilikulla First Nation, as CTV News reported. "The bears have been starving because there's a lack of salmon return in Hoeya Sound and Lull Bay."
Smith and other volunteers from the First Nation took the fish to estuary areas where the bears are known to feed. The bears were there and hungry, said Smith.
"We were about 30 feet away from them," he said to CNN. "A little grizzly looked up at us and the mother bear came out to get the fish."
While it is unusual to help bears, Smith and others have started to notice that the bears are wandering away from their traditional feeding grounds to search for food.
Richard Sumner, chief councilor of the Mamalilikulla First Nation, said grizzlies are starting to venture to all the small islands in the area and are even making their way over to Vancouver Island in search of fish, something that rarely happened in the past, as the CBC reported. Hungry bears will often be aggressive.
Sumner added that he understands that people should not interfere with wild animals, but he argues that what is happening to the bears is not a byproduct of a natural occurrence.
"The lack of salmon is not a natural thing," he said to the CBC. "I'm hoping it's not too little too late."
He added that he and his tribe have a duty to the bears since the Mamalilikulla First Nation are the stewards of the land and it would be unethical to watch the grizzlies perish.
"We just hope we can get enough bulk on them to last the winter," said Sumner to the CBC.
It's not just the bears that do not have fish. Sumner pointed out that his tribe members, who rely on frozen and canned fish in the winter, have empty freezers this year.
A report released earlier this summer pointed out that the salmon's ecosystem was changing rapidly since Canada is experiencing warming twice as fast as the global average, as CNN reported. The report also noted other factors like marine heatwaves, flooding, and droughts that are stressing Canada's fish stocks.
The same is true in Alaska, where this summer's heat waves killed hundreds of salmon.
And last month, the commercial fishing lobby asked the government for disaster relief to help the industry since the fishing had been so poor.
"The impacts of this climate change disaster has been coast wide," said Joy Thorkelson, president of the United Fishermen and Allied Workers' Union, at a press conference in September, as CNN reported.Canada's natural resources ministry told CNN they will meet with First Nations later today to discuss the salmon and the bears.
- Redwoods are the world's tallest trees.
- Now scientists have discovered they are even bigger than we thought.
- Using laser technology they map the 80-meter giants.
- Trees are a key plank in the fight against climate change.
They are among the largest trees in the world, descendants of forests where dinosaurs roamed.
Pixabay / Simi Luft<p><span>Until recently, measuring these trees meant scaling their 80 meter high trunks with a tape measure. Now, a team of scientists from University College London and the University of Maryland uses advanced laser scanning, to create 3D maps and calculate the total mass.</span></p><p>The results are striking: suggesting the trees <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">may be as much as 30% larger than earlier measurements suggested.</a> Part of that could be due to the additional trunks the Redwoods can grow as they age, <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">a process known as reiteration</a>.</p>
New 3D measurements of large redwood trees for biomass and structure. Nature / UCL<p>Measuring the trees more accurately is important because carbon capture will probably play a key role in the battle against climate change. Forest <a href="https://www.wri.org/blog/2020/09/carbon-sequestration-natural-forest-regrowth" target="_blank">growth could absorb billions of tons</a> of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year.</p><p>"The importance of big trees is widely-recognised in terms of carbon storage, demographics and impact on their surrounding ecosystems," the authors wrote<a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank"> in the journal Nature</a>. "Unfortunately the importance of big trees is in direct proportion to the difficulty of measuring them."</p><p>Redwoods are so long lived because of their ability to <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">cope with climate change, resist disease and even survive fire damage</a>, the scientists say. Almost a fifth of their volume may be bark, which helps protect them.</p>
Carbon Capture Champions<p><span>Earlier research by scientists at Humboldt University and the University of Washington found that </span><a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378112716302584" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Redwood forests store almost 2,600 tonnes of carbon per hectare</a><span>, their bark alone containing more carbon than any other neighboring species.</span></p><p>While the importance of trees in fighting climate change is widely accepted, not all species enjoy the same protection as California's coastal Redwoods. In 2019 the world lost the equivalent of <a href="https://www.worldwildlife.org/threats/deforestation-and-forest-degradation" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">30 soccer fields of forest cover every minute</a>, due to agricultural expansion, logging and fires, according to The Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF).</p>
Pixabay<p>Although <a href="https://c402277.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/publications/1420/files/original/Deforestation_fronts_-_drivers_and_responses_in_a_changing_world_-_full_report_%281%29.pdf?1610810475" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">the rate of loss is reported to have slowed in recent years</a>, reforesting the world to help stem climate change is a massive task.</p><p><span>That's why the World Economic Forum launched the Trillion Trees Challenge (</span><a href="https://www.1t.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">1t.org</a><span>) and is engaging organizations and individuals across the globe through its </span><a href="https://uplink.weforum.org/uplink/s/uplink-issue/a002o00000vOf09AAC/trillion-trees" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Uplink innovation crowdsourcing platform</a><span> to support the project.</span></p><p>That's backed up by research led by ETH Zurich/Crowther Lab showing there's potential to restore tree coverage across 2.2 billion acres of degraded land.</p><p>"Forests are critical to the health of the planet," according to <a href="https://www.1t.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">1t.org</a>. "They sequester carbon, regulate global temperatures and freshwater flows, recharge groundwater, anchor fertile soil and act as flood barriers."</p><p><em data-redactor-tag="em" data-verified="redactor">Reposted with permission from the </em><span><em data-redactor-tag="em" data-verified="redactor"><a href="https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2021/03/redwoods-store-more-co2-and-are-more-enormous-than-we-thought/" target="_blank">World Economic Forum</a>.</em></span></p>
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