Wildlife

From bowhead whales to walruses to lemmings, nothing captures the imagination and attention of people more than Arctic wildlife.  Here, residents and observers of the Arctic discuss and show the remarkable beauty and precious, fragile nature of life in the Arctic.

Featured Characters

Atmospheric Chemistry, Environment Canada

Areas Wildlife Biologist, Alaska’s Department of Fish & Game

President of the Barrow Whaling Captains Association and Iñupiaq Elder 

Research Wildlfie Biologist, Polar Bears

Research Wildlife Biologist

Senior Wildlife Biologist (Bowhead Whales)

Research Biologist & Wildlife Veterinarian

Mike Lockhart

Mike Lockhart

Field Biologist with ten years experience capturing polar bears on the Southern Beaufort Sea.

Mike Lockhart has provided field assistance on polar bear research projects for the U.S. Geological Survey and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service since 2001.  He has extensive experience with wildlife survey, capture, and telemetry techniques which have been put to use in polar bear field studies.   Mike has an M.S. in Biology and has worked in wildlife conservation since 1975.  He retired from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 2008 after 33 years with that agency, but continues to work actively as a consultant and field biologist.  During his tenure with FWS, Mike conducted and/or participated in a host of research projects on birds of prey, carnivores and ungulates; investigated energy development, contaminant, and oil spill effects on wildlife and developed management responses; helped establish a new National Wildlife Refuge near Denver, Colorado;  assisted with regulation development and management of the Federal subsistence program in Alaska; and, finally, served as the Species Coordinator for the Service’s endangered black-footed ferret recovery program.   Mike now lives in Laramie, Wyoming.

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Meet Mike Lockhart, Listen to him talk about Polar Bear Capture
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Capturing Polar Bears, what it's like out on the ice, beauty of the Arctic
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Part Two: Capturing Polar Bears, what it's like out on the ice, some details
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Mike talks about bears and climate change
Geoff York

Geoff York

Arctic Program’s polar bear expert for World Wildlife Fund

Geoff York recently joined WWF as the Arctic Program’s polar bear expert. He is based in the WWF Alaska field office in downtown Anchorage, working closely with the Kamchatka/Bering Sea team as well as with the broader WWF team throughout the circumpolar Arctic. Geoff has lived in Alaska since 1990 when he came north to pursue a Masters degree in science/biology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. He has 12 years of field experience in the Arctic, most recently as a Biologist and Program Manager for the U.S. Geological Survey’s Polar Bear Project, the leading polar bear research team in the US (see Amstrup above). His work included leading field efforts in the capture and handling of 100s of bears, tagging them, collecting a variety of biological samples to assess disease and health related parameters, and collaring a few adult females with radio telemetry devices to tracking the bears’ movements on sea ice.

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Geoff talks about Polar Bear capture work

The work can be dangerous and exciting

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The Arctic, Science, Scientists, and NGOs like the WWF
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Polar Bear Encounter

Geoff has a close encounter with a bear in a den

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The Arctic & Bringing Science to non-scientists

Geoff’s passion for the Arctic and what he hopes accomplish at the WWF.

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Geoff Carroll

Geoff Carroll

Areas Wildlife Biologist, Alaska’s Department of Fish & Game

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Moving to the Arctic & a Bowhead Whale Census

Wildlife biologist Geoff Carroll in Barrow, Alaska, talks about the extirpation and reintroduction of muskox on the North Slope.

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Geoff's Polar Bear Story

Geoff Carroll tells the story of an early morning polar bear in a whale census tent out on the ice.

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Area Wildlife Biologist

Geoff Carroll, Area Wildlife Biologist for Alaska’s Department of Fish and Game, talks about his job looking after all the animals, especially caribou, in a 56,000 sq mile region.

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Muskox on the North Slope

Wildlife biologist Geoff Carroll in Barrow, Alaska, talks about the extirpation and reintroduction of muskox on the North Slope.

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Eugene Brower

Eugene Brower

President of the Barrow Whaling Captains Association, Whaling Captain, and Iñupiaq Elder 

Inupiaq Eskimo elder and whaling captain Eugene Brower knows the ice in the Chukchi Sea off Barrow, Alaska, through many thousands of hours hunting the bowhead whale. Out there, he has seen some amazing things.

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Amazing Bowhead Whale Stories

Eugene tells some amazing stories about bowhead whales that he has witnessed when out hunting in the Chukchi Sea, off Barrow, Alaska.

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Amazing Story of a Polar Bear on the Ice

An amazing polar bear story, something Eugene saw with his father, Harry Brower, Sr. (1924-1992), out on the ice.

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Story of a White Whale

Off the coast of Barrow, Alaska, in the Chukchi Sea, whaling captain Eugene Brower has seen one white whale, and he’s seen it multiple times. He knows it by its markings..

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The Story of a Rogue Walrus

A story about confronting a massive rogue walrus out on the ice while hunting whales, Barrow, Alaska

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The Whaling Camp & What the Whales know and See

Whaling camps and what the whales see and know and how the whalers must learn to keep quiet and undetected if there is to be a successful hunt.

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Dr. Steve Amstrup

Dr. Steve Amstrup

Polar Bear expert, Research Wildlife Biologist, US Geological Survey, Anchorage, AK

Dr. Steven C. Amstrup, Polar Bear Scientist, talks about the state of polar bear research and relates that to climate change and how polar nations are working together to share information. Dr. Amstrup is a Research Wildlife Biologist with the United States Geological Survey at the Alaska Science Center, Anchorage, AK. He led the international team of researchers which prepared 9 reports that became the basis for the recent decision, by the Secretary of Interior, to list polar bears as a threatened species.

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Polar Bears & Climate Change

Alaska’s foremost polar bear expert talks about the effect of the retreating ice on bears

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Polar Bears and the Future

Research Wildlife Biologist, Alaska Science Center, USGS, Anchorage, Alaska. Dr. Amstrup talks about Polar Bear science and managing bears as the pole warms up and the ice retreats.

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Studying Polar Bears

Dr. Amstrup takes some time out in his office on the campus of the University of Alaska in Anchorage to talk about how polar bear research has moved from questions of hunting bears to climate change.

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Polar Bears & Global Warming

The single biggest threat to polar bears is decline to their habitat that’s likely to occur because of Global Warming

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Polar Bears & Loss of Habitat

The single biggest threat to polar bears is decline to their habitat that’s likely to occur because of Global Warming

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Research on Polar Bears in the Polar Nations

Polar bear researchers from polar nations share information and resources

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Field Work

Dr. Steven Amstrup of Anchorage, Alaska, talks about field work–Tagging, analyzing data, working with other polar nations

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Dr. Lily Peacock

Dr. Lily Peacock

Research biologist for the US Geological Survey, Anchorage, AK. Lily has studied Polar Bears in Canada where they are still harvested by native peoples.

Lily Peacock is a Research Wildlife Biologist with the United States Geological Survey at the Alaska Science Center, Anchorage, AK. She specializes in population ecology, harvest management, ecological genetics, polar bear conservation.

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Climate Change & the Native Harvest of Bears in Canada

Lily italks about climate change & the native harvest of Polar Bears in Canada

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How Dr. Lily Peacock came to study Polar Bears in the Arctic

Lily came to the Arctic in a roundabout way. Amazing story of how she ended up capturing polar bears.

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Meet Lily Peacock

Lily Peacock, research biologist studying polar bears for the US Geological Survey in Anchorage, AK. Lily has worked on Polar Bear Management in remote areas on Baffin Island in the Territory of Nunavut

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Polar Bears in Different Parts of the Arctic

Lily talks about what’s happening with the 20-25,000 polar bears in different parts of the Arctic in different seasons

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Population Ecology of Polar Bears

Lily talks about mark and capture population ecology techniques in polar bear science conducted in Canada

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Dr. Craig George

Dr. John C. "Craig" George

Senior Wildlife Biologist (Bowhead Whales), Department of Wildlife Management, North Slope Borough, Barrow, Alaska

Craig George has worked as a Wildlife Biologist with the North Slope Department of Wildlife Management in Barrow, Alaska for 25 years.  Craig earned a B.S. in Wildlife Biology from the Utah State University in 1976 and recently completed his Ph.D. in bowhead whale energetics, age estimation and morphology (comprehensive exams 2001).  Beginning in 1982, Craig worked on and later coordinated the bowhead whale ice-based population assessment project on the sea ice near Point Barrow for nearly two decades.   He also has conducted many postmortem exams on bowheads harvested by Alaskan Eskimos (since 1980) and published a number of papers on this work ranging from evidence of killer whale predation to structural anatomy to population biology. Craig has attended IWC meetings since 1987 focusing mainly on aboriginal whaling management procedures and assessments and population estimation. He has also participated in Eskimo traditional knowledge studies on the North Slope. Craig has lived in Barrow since 1977 and is married to Cyd Hanns, a wildlife technician. Together they enjoy community and outdoor activities with their two sons Luke and Sam.

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Meet John Craighead (Craig) George, whale scientist

Craig , is now Senior Wildlife Biologist for the North Slope Borough. Here he talks about how he came to Barrow in 1977 and then to his bowhead whale research and the bowhead census that helped him and other researchers quantify the bowhead population in the Arctic

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Retreating Ice, Bowhead Whales, and the Inupiat

Craig talks about the incredible changes he’s seen in the decades since he got to Barrow: the retreat of the ice pack in the summer, the warmer winters. September never used to be an open-water month. Craig is aware of warming periods over the last 10,000 years, but if the predictions are correct, it might not swing back this time because there is a definite human factor in this recent warming trend.

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Beautiful sea ice, amazing Bowhead Whales, Eskimo Culture, and Whale Harvest

The bowhead is one of the most unusual mammals, with so many unique and extraordinary characteristics, its massive size (up to 60 feet with some reports up to 80 feet), has the thickest blubber of any whale, the longest baleen, some plates reaching 15 feet. They have the largest head in the animal kingdom in proportion to their body, a third of their body size. They may also live 150 years or more

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The Increasing Bowhead Whale Population

Craig talks about adopting the Eskimo techniques for safety on the ice during the whale census. Here he talks about polar bears in camp out on the ice and other difficulties….

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Raising a family in Barrow, Alaska

Craig talks about the uniqueness of raising a family in the high Arctic with its vibrant whaling culture, dog mushing, good friends. His two sons, Luke and Sam, got to take part in Eskimo festivals; they ran rivers and hunted and fished in pristine places; polar bears wandered through town. Perhaps it was an America that has been lost to many.

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Dr. Cheryl Rosa

Dr. Cheryl Rosa

Polar Research Biologist and Wildlife Veterinarian, North Slope Borough, Dept. of Wildlife Management, Barrow, AK

Dr. Cheryl Rosa is Deputy Director and Anchorage-based Alaska Director of the United States Arctic Research Commission (USARC). She helps the seven-member, presidentially appointed Commission in its efforts to strengthen Arctic research and ties to the State of Alaska and international partners. Dr. Rosa, a Research Biologist and Wildlife Veterinarian for the North Slope Borough (NSB) Department of Wildlife Management in Barrow, Alaska, received a Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from Tufts University and a Doctorate in Biology from the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Dr. Rosa has been active on the North Slope in a wide range of studies, including wildlife health and zoonotic disease, marine mammal stranding response, subsistence food safety and oil spill/offshore discharge research. She is a member of the International Whaling Commission’s Scientific Committee, the Science Advisory Panel of the North Pacific Research Board and the Polar Bear Technical Committee (past). Dr. Rosa has worked and lived in the Arctic for almost a decade.

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Living and Working in Barrow, AK
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Being a Wildlife Vet, Cheryl's First Whale