The Bear Truth

first_imgUrsa Major: Life-long bear biologist Lynn Rogers is known as the “Jane Goodall of Black Bears.”Most people think Lynn Rogers is crazy. The 71-year-old wildlife biologist walks with bears. He follows black bears for miles as they search for food through the Northwoods of Minnesota, trudging through marshes, straddling fallen trees, and kayaking across lakes to keep up with them. He studies their behavior and development from extremely close distances over 24-hour periods, sometimes even resting right beside them. Because of the trust these bears have for him, he’s become known as the “Jane Goodall of black bears.”Rogers, head of Minnesota’s Wildlife Research Institute, has authored dozens of peer-reviewed papers on black bears. Several of his discoveries are owed to his close contact with bears. In over 40 years of research, though, he believes his most important finding is that black bears are not the vicious animals we once thought they were. Bear Basics In the Southeastern U.S., the black bear population is growing steadily. That’s why bears are classified as game animals in states like Tennessee, Virginia, and North Carolina.“A lot of people don’t realize how adaptable this animal is,” says research ecologist Frank van Manen of the U.S. Geological Survey. “This species is a very opportunistic one.”Over the past 80 years, the situation for black bears has improved, van Manen says. The Southern Appalachians are no longer heavily exploited for timber as they were in the 1930s. In addition, forests in the Southeast are dominated by oak trees, which have been highly productive, he says. That means more acorns for bears.In Louisiana and Florida, however, the situation is different. Louisiana’s subspecies of black bears is classified as “threatened” by the Endangered Species Act. Although Florida’s subspecies is not listed by the federal government, the state classifies it as “threatened.”Across the country, the biggest threat facing the planet’s largest mammal is the shrinking and fragmentation of its habitat. As development encroaches on wild spaces, black bears are losing their homes and their natural sources of food. This is causing an increase in bear-human interactions, something that bear management experts work to avoid. Bear Management The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is home to about 1,600 black bears, the largest concentration of bears in the Southeast. The park also has an incredibly high concentration of humans: it’s the most visited national park in the country, receiving between 9 million and 10 million visitors each year. These colliding populations make bear management particularly challenging. 1 2 3 4 5 6last_img read more

Dominica to sign trans-national agreement with two French countries

first_img Share Tweet LocalNews Dominica to sign trans-national agreement with two French countries by: – December 15, 2011 Sharing is caring! 17 Views   no discussionscenter_img Share Share Hon. Rayburn Blackmoore. (file photo)Dominica is expected to sign a trans-national agreement with two French countries for the sale of energy. A delegation from the French neighboring islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique met with the government of Dominica on Wednesday, to discuss a trans-national partnership project, which will seek to further develop the geothermal resources in the country.Minister with responsibility for Energy Rayburn Blackmore says the concept of sharing must be embraced in other to achieve.“We are confident with your support, once we get it right, that we can develop our geothermal potential to a point where we’ll be able to provide social surplus to the point where we will be able to sell to the French departments in a similar fashion as we sold bananas and grew our economy to a point of excellence. That is the context I think we have to embrace; the concept of sharing, because at best we consume 15 megawatts.”Blackmore noted that for this resource to make economical sense the surplus must be sold to the neighbouring French islands.“Our long term objective as we have said before is to construct a power plant of 120 megawatts. What are we going to do with the rest of that resource? For it to make economic sense therefore we must sell it and the most practical way to do so is to sell it to our friends in Martinique and Guadeloupe and we can further develop that functional cooperation that has made us strong as a region.”The minister further stated that the traditional and historic links that Dominica has shared with Guadeloupe and Martinique should not be forgotten.“We cannot forget our traditional and historical links between the French and Dominica and that is why I am confident that our geothermal potential once we get it right provides for us in Dominica the greatest legacy that we can leave for our people and generations to come and that is the manner in which I want every Dominican to embrace that project.”Meantime, Vice President of the Guadeloupe Regional Council, Harry Durimel says today’s meeting is a start of a new beginning for the three countries. Durimel says the rise in the cost of energy is a major concern for Guadeloupe. Dominica Vibes Newslast_img read more