August 23, 2009 |
I am beluga bait. Bobbing at the end of a rope tied around my feet, I am being slowly towed in the wake of a Zodiac, a small, inflatable boat, through the icy waters of Hudson Bay. Clad in a partly inflated rubber dry suit, I look like a Michelin Tire Man who has sprouted a snorkel as I peer into the murky brown, tannin-stained cocktail of salt and freshwater. I have come all the way to far northern Manitoba, Canada, to snorkel with beluga whales that, if they do appear out of the gloom, will likely scare the daylights out of me. As my heart races, I remember my guide suggesting I sing to attract these most vocal of whales, known as "canaries of the sea" for their high-pitched songs and rhythmic clicks.
April 17, 2012 |
SEATTLE -- Polar bears are skating on thin ice in Alaska these days: Warming temperatures have resulted in dramatic shrinkage of sea ice, leaving the bears with fewer ice floes on which to rest and hunt seals. But at least for the moment, the Endangered Species Act won't be used to control the greenhouse gas emissions that conservationists say are contributing to climate change and posing one of the biggest threats to the bears' survival. The Obama administration on Tuesday released a proposed rule that -- like an earlier version put forward under President George W. Bush -- exempts operations outside the bears' normal territory from restrictions on activities.
September 13, 2009 |
Two German merchant ships have traversed the fabled Northeast Passage after global warming and melting ice opened a route from South Korea along Russia's Arctic coast to Siberia. Now the German-owned ships are poised to complete their journey through the cold waters where icebergs abound, heading for Rotterdam in the Netherlands with 3,500 tons of construction parts. The merchant ships MV Beluga Fraternity and MV Beluga Foresight arrived this week in Yamburg, Siberia, their owner Beluga Shipping GmbH said Friday.
August 26, 2012 |
GIRDWOOD, Alaska - With its bid to launch offshore drilling in the Arctic Ocean running up against a deadline to protect against sea ice, Shell Alaska has requested an extension in its window for drilling in the Chukchi Sea. Peter E. Slaiby, vice president of the Alaska venture, said Sunday that the company has proposed extending the time allowed for drilling in the Chukchi by slightly less than two weeks beyond the Sept. 24 deadline set by the U.S. Department of Interior to allow time for cleanup of any oil spill before the onset of winter sea ice. Meeting with reporters at an Arctic Imperative Summit here, Slaiby said the company's latest models for forecasting the onset of winter sea ice now show the first freeze-up occurring somewhat later than originally envisioned when federal officials imposed their initial deadline for ending operations in the Chukchi Sea. Drilling in the Beaufort Sea, closer to shore, already is allowed through Oct. 31. A deadline extension is important for Shell, which has spent more than $4.5 billion on preparing to drill its first exploratory wells off the coast of Alaska in more than 20 years.
January 3, 2010
1 South Africa Tourism officials are warning hotels, airlines and restaurants not to scare off tourists by hiking prices during next summer's FIFA World Cup soccer tournament. With about 500,000 sports fans expected to descend on South Africa and spend an estimated $850 million during the monthlong event, tourism officials said last month that they feared visitors would be put off by exorbitant costs as hotels and guest lodges raise their prices. Media reports have said some hotels plan to charge up to $250 for a basic room that usually costs $100 to $150.
February 7, 1996 |
The Emperor penguins, rising from the depths, levitate into the blue glow of an air hole in the ice. No single creature more embodies the popular image of Antarctica than these droll birds dressed by nature for every formal occasion. Yet remarkably little is known about their behavior and biology. The Emperors' captivating underwater behavior while foraging in what may be the planet's last unspoiled sea is a wonder normally denied to naturalists.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 22, 1998 |
Scientists may have found remnants of one of the greatest shipping calamities in history, buried deep in the muck and mud on the floor of the Chukchi Sea off the northwestern coast of Alaska. The murky images recorded by a remotely operated camera during a late-summer expedition show the outlines of at least two ships that sank more than a century ago. Their bows, decks and the ribs of their hulls are just barely discernible beneath a thick layer of silt, 60 feet below the surface.
November 27, 2010 |
On a November evening, with the spring sun in northern Antarctica slowly setting about 11 p.m., the view from the top of the Marr Ice Piedmont ? a glacier nearly 40 miles long by 20 miles wide ? was all ice and sky. Through the dust-free atmosphere, I gazed at mountain peaks 120 miles to the south, their summits enveloped in rivers of ice that dropped sharply to the Southern Ocean. The sea itself was frozen, its surface studded with countless icebergs. The scene in front of me, devoid of any sign of man, glowed with a cool, blue purity.
March 1, 2013 |
SEATTLE - The federal law listing polar bears as a threatened species was upheld Friday by a federal appeals court, which rejected arguments that it is wrong to impose far-ranging and possibly costly protections for a species that remains fairly abundant in many regions of the Arctic. Concluding that attacks on the listing “amount to nothing more than competing views on policy and science,” the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., upheld the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's 2008 decision to protect the animals because the dramatic loss of sea ice leaves them likely to become in danger of extinction.
October 5, 2012 |
Faced with growing concerns about the hunting of polar bears in Canada, the Obama administration announced Friday it will again support a ban on the commercial trade of polar bears, whose hides fetch up to $16,000 each on the international market. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released a position paper that advocates including the polar bear on the list of species that are subject to the most stringent constraints on international trade. The effect of such a move, if adopted by the 176-nation Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora when it meets in March, would be to prohibit the sale of polar bear furs, claws, teeth and other body parts outside of Canada. Hunts by aboriginal Inuits in Alaska and other polar states would still be allowed, but outside sale of the pelts would not. This post has been updated as indicated below [Updated 5:38 p.m., Oct. 5, 2012: “Certain types of items, such as hunting trophies, live animals for zoological parks, and specimens for scientific research are generally considered by CITES to be primarily non-commercial,” the Fish and Wildlife Service said in a statement to the Los Angeles Times.