Arctic News Archives - Living Organisms and Fossils
of older (2003-2004) news items that relate to living organisms and
fossils in the Arctic and surrounding regions. All links will take
you to sites outside of the PRISM site. Use your back button to return.
Archive Topic List.
News - 2004
- December 30, 2004 -
Two Traditions Meet To Save Caribou. - CBC
Inuit hunters are banding together to try to determin why the number
of caribou on Banks Island has decreased.
- December 13, 2004 -
Pollution Hotspots - BBC
The Arctic has
been designated as a pollution hotspot due to problems with Persistent
Organic Pollutants (POPs) that threaten the health of humans and animals.
POPs are probably carried from industrialized nations on wind currents.
November 16, 2004 -
Arctic Animals Face Stress Of Warming Habitat - CBC
new diseases and changes in the environment are stressing many Arctic
species to the point where some biologists worry that some species may
not survive. Hundreds of eider ducks died last year of Avian cholera,
a disease previously seen only in warmer areas. (Similar
story from Belfast Telegraph.)
- November 8, 2004 - Arctic
Warming At Twice Global Rate - CNN
is heating the Arctic almost twice as fast as the rest of the planet
in a thaw that threatens millions of livelihoods and could wipe out
polar bears by 2100, an eight-nation report said. (Similar
story from BBC)
- October/November, 2004 -
Denizens Feel The Heat - NWF
is adversely affecting wildlife and human communities, especially in
the Arctic. For many changes in the sea ice are particularly devastating.
The polar bear is already in trouble.
- October 20, 2004 - Dinosaur
Fossils Show Arctic's Jurassic Age - CBC
Bones of a large
meat-eating dinosaur have been found on a mountainside of Bylot Island.
- October 17, 2004 - Polar
Bear Migration Draws Tourists To Canadian Town - Post Gazette
The town of Churchill,
Manitoba is right in the middle of the migration route of polar bears.
Many tourists come to see the hundreds of bears that pass by during
the late fall.
- October 15, 2004 - Vanishing
Seabirds Worry Arctic Biologists - CBC
conditions are causing two species of gulls to have substantial drops
in population. Other seabirds are changing their eating habits and it
appears the chicks are not surviving as well on the new diet.
- October 14, 2004 - Falcon
Tracker Finds Foul Environment - Planet Ark
who tracks peregrine falcons is concerned about the loss of the birds'
habitat in the ANWR if oil companies open it for drilling. He likens
the area to the Oklahoma Land Rush with oil companies positioning themselves
for the opening.
- September 27, 2004 -
Arctic Drilling As Divisive As Issues Get - Sacramento Bee
Bush and Kerry
appear to be widely divided in their positions about whether the Arctic
National Wildlife Refuge should be opened to oil and gas drilling. Their
positions are outlined here by a political analyst.
- September 27, 2004 -
Alaska Scientists Find Arctic Tundra Yields Surprising Carbon Loss
not find an expected link between plant growth and carbon-storage in
tundra plants, but instead found that there was a big loss of carbon
from the soil under simulated global warming conditions.
- September 22, 2004 - Rock
Bugs Resist Polar Extremes - BBC
(cyanobacteria) seem to thrive under rocks in the Arctic and in Antarctica,
in spite of extreme ultraviolet light and frigid temperatures.
- September 13, 2004 - More
Scientific Evidence That Polar Bears Are Affected By Toxic Chemicals
The World Wildlife
Federation reports that polar bears are being contaminated by PCBs and
pesticides and these chemicals are affecting the health of the animals.
- September 11, 2004 - Polar
Bear Injures Russian Explorer - Novosti
An explorer in
Franz Joseph Land was attacked and wounded by a polar bear, but will
recover. (Map of Franz Joseph Land from Encarta.)
- September 10, 2004 - Scientists
Find Secret Of Life... - Independent
Study of an Arctic
crater caused by an an asteroid has led scientists to conclude that
asteroids can help microbial life flourish by providing a warm, protected
- September 7, 2004 - Dark
Future For White Animals In Warm Arctic - Dawn
White fur, which
has camouflaged a variety of animals in the Arctic for centuries, is
now proving a detriment as the Arctic warms and ice melts revealing
dark patches of ground.
- Sept. 2, 2004 -
New Swimming Reptile Fossil In Arctic - CNN
fossil of a a new species of fish-like lizard has been found in Svalbard,
- August 31, 2004 - Ice
Clarifies Climate's Secrets - USA Today
Pink ice, possible
plant material and mud extracted from the bottom of the Greenland ice
sheet at North GRIP are providing many new interesting insights into
climate through the ages and possible life at the bottom of the ice
- August 28, 2004 - Denmark
Backs Down On Fishing - National Post
trawlers have been recalled from Newfoundland waters after the Canadian
government warned they would close their ports to all Danish vessels
if fishing was not discontinued. Canada has been worried about the overfishing
by other nations, but Denmark says its quota was set too low.
- August 27, 2004 - Toxins
Accumulate In Arctic Peoples, Animals - National Geographic
Studies of people
and animals living in the Arctic have shown very high levels of chemical
contaminants in their bodies. Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) from
industrialized nations are infiltrating the food web.
- August 25, 2004 - Arctic
Ecosystem Under Threat - Washington Times
and gas exploration and drilling as well as overfishing, nuclear waste
and the invasion of non-native species is wreaking havoc in the Barents
Sea area according to the United Nations Environmental Program. (See a
map of Barents Sea. View
map of wells in the area. Similar
story by BBC.)
- August 16, 2004 - Greenland
Ice Core Project Yields Probable Ancient Plant Remains - Space Daily
the North Greenland Ice Core (NGRIP) project have recovered what appear
to be plant remains between the glacial ice and the bedrock. These plants
are thought to date to the Pleistocene period. (See more at NGRIP
- August 16, 2004 - Seabed
Samples Offer Glimpse To Arctic Past - CBC
the Queen Maud Gulf are studying sediments from the seabed to help them
better understand the marine ecosystem in the Arctic. (Map
of Queen Maud Gulf.)
- August 15, 2004 - Aircraft
To Rescue Endangered Geese- Gulf Daily News
A group of scientists
will try to use an ultralight aircraft to guide a group of endangered
geese on their annual migration, by imprinting the chicks on the aircraft.
(Photo of goose.)
- August 13, 2004 - Iceland,
Norway In Dispute Over Herring - Washington Times
Norway has set
a quota for herring fishing in the Arctic Ocean around Svalbard. Iceland
is contesting this quota and sovereignty over the area. (Map
and images of Svalbard, Norway.)
- August 4, 2004 - Alert
Issued For Alaskan Oysters, Seafood - CBC North
seafood seems to be infected with a warm-water bacteria, and people
are warned not to eat RAW Alaskan seafood. This bacteria is normally
not seen in Alaskan waters but the summer's warmer-than-usual temperature
have allowed it flourish.
- July 28, 2004 - Scientists
Spot Rare Blue Whale In Alaska - Silicon Valley
The largest animal
known to live on earth, the blue whale, has been sighted off the coast
of Alaska. This is the first confirmed sighting in over 30 years.This
whale is a protected species.
- July 28, 2004 - Polar
Bears Roam Arctic Ice On Borrowed Time - TerraDaily
The polar bear
is being exposed to a number of perils that lead scientists to fear
that it is on the road to extinction. Mutations are showing up, presumably
due to increased toxins from environmental waste.
- July 28, 2004 - Whales
Are No Competition - The Star
Whales and dolphins
do not appear to be responsible for depletion of world fish stocks according
to a new scientific study. These data refute an argument by pro-whaling
nations that whales need to be hunted to protect marine food stock.
- July 21, 2004 - Greenland
Warned on Whaling Toll - BBC
Whaling Commission is not sure there are enough fin and minke whales
in Greenland waters to safely allow Greenland communities to continue
their annual hunt.
- July 18, 2004 - 120,000-Year-Old
Ice Houses Tiny Bacteria - Detroit News
Colonies of live
bacteria have been found in a deep ice core from a Greenland glacier.
- July 17, 2004 - Protecting
The Arctic From Oilmen - International Herald Tribune
A plan has been
announced to lease rights for oil and gas development in Teshekpuk Lake,
an important breeding ground for many Arctic birds and subsistence area
for the indigenous Inupiat who hunt and fish there. (Map
of the area - The lake is near the yellow-colored Beaufort Sea Planning
- July 12, 2004 - Baby
Walrus Rescued... - North Country Times
A baby walrus
rescued by fishermen in Alaska is undergoing care at the SeaLife Center
in Seward, and will eventually go to SeaWorld in San Diego.
- July 10, 2004 - ROM
Helps The Red Knot Spread Its Wings - National Post
The Red Knot,
a type of Arctic sandpiper, has been dying off in "astounding numbers"
over the past few years. So the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) has been
investigating why. It was linked the harvesting of "pregnant"
horseshoe crabs, an essential part of the birds' diet. Lobbying has
been ongoing to ban fishermen from taking the crabs before they lay
- July 9, 2004 - Three
Democratic Senate Candidates Call For Opening ANWR - RigZone
Brad Carson, Chris John and Tony Knowles have called for "responsible
development of the coastal plain" of the ANWR. Experts feel this
may bode well for energy policy in the next Congress.
- July 6, 2004 - Ice
Melting May Be Harming Polar Bears - CBC
Fewer polar bear
cubs are being seen in Hudson Bay and the Beaufort Strait in the past
few years. A biologist studying the bears sees a link to the sea ice
breaking up earlier than ever the past few years.
- July 5, 2004 - Move
To Protect Arctic Char Launched - Scotsman
experts from six countries have launched an effort to protect the Arctic
Char, which has the ability to change shape and color in response to
its environment. Populations of this fish have been declining in Britain
- July 2, 2004 - Nine
New Sites Join World Heritage List - Scotsman
Two Arctic sites
were among nine sites recently named to the World Heritage List. One
was Russia's Wrangle Island Reserve, a habitat for polar bear and seals.
The other is the Ilulissat Icefjord, on the west coast of Greenland.This
designation provides added protection for these areas.
- June 28, 2004 - Counting
Nemo and Friends In the Arctic - SpaceDaily
several nations have joined together to take a census of marine life
in the Arctic Ocean. They will examine the sea ice, sea floor, and water
for different types of organisms.They will focus on the Canada Basin.
(Similar story from ScienceDaily.)
- June 4, 2004 - Ancient
Life On Cold-Water Corals - BBC
The UN Environment
Programme reports that cold-water reefs are quite widespread and harbor
many organisms thought to be long-extinct. These ancient reefs are spread
from Greenland to the sub-Antarctic islands.
- June 4, 2004 - Belgium,
Luxembourg Ban Seal Skin Imports - New Zealand Herald
the way seals are killed has led Belgium and Luxembourg to ban the import
of all seal skins. An exception was made for those coming from Inuit
and indigenous sources.
- June 4, 2004 - Ailing
Alaska Killer Whales To Get Protection - ABC
A small group
of killer whales, depleted since the Exxon oil spill, has been granted
special protection by US officials.
- June 3, 2004 - Man-Made
Toxins Found In Arctic - CBS
in televisions, toys and fire retardants have been found in Arctic wildlife
according to Norwegian scientists. This is a sign that these chemicals
do not break down as quickly as had been thought. (Similar
story from Yahoo)
- May 28, 2004 - Recovery
Beluga Whales In Alaska Lacking - Las Vegas Sun
The beluga whales
population in Cook Inlet, Alaska is still low, even though hunting has
been strictly limited, so a new conservation program is being launched.
- May 27, 2004 - Tiny
Bugs Retrieved From Glacial Deep Freeze- New Scientist
Fifteen new species
of bacteria have been found in ice retrieved from a Greenland glacier.
These microbes are extremely small, but are not nanobacteria.
- May 11, 2004 - Protect
Endangered Beluga, Caribou... - CBC North
On the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada has asked for the government
to protect the Peary caribou and beluga whale under the Federal Species
At Risk Act. Hunting around Greenland appears to have been very hard
on Beluga whale populations.
- May 11,
2004 - Norway
Opens Whaling Season - The Australian
are defying an international ban on hunting minke whales, this year
setting a quota of 67 whales for commercial whalers.
- April 19, 2004 - Tourists
Ignoring Call To Boycott Alaska... - AZ Central
An animal rights
group is trying to revive a tourism boycott in order to put pressure
on the state to outlaw hunting of wolves from airplanes. So far the
plea seems to be unsuccessful.
- April 17, 2004 - ...A
Robin In the Arctic? - Globe and Mail
Robins and sockeye
salmon have now been seen in the Arctic. There are signs that a warming
trend is changing the patterns of migration and adaptation of other
- April 14, 2004 - Bowheads
On The Beeb - CBC North
A reality TV
series for children, Serious Arctic, is helping the Fish and Game department
survey bowhead whales. Eight students are participating in the research
and TV show.
- April 14, 2004 - Seal
Cull Ignores Cameras, Protests - The Australian
are being allowed to kill 350,000 harp seals this year, in order to
cull the herds so that they will not threaten cod stocks.
- April 8,
2004 - Barren
Siberia... May Be Original Home To Animal Life - Science Daily
of Kansas researcher and a University of Florida researcher have found
evidence that trilobites, regarded as one of the earliest forms of animal
life, may have originated in what is now Siberia.
- April 7, 2004 - Trans-Arctic
Expedition Sets Off From Siberia - Russian Information Agency Novosti
team has set out to determine effects of global climate change on plant
and animal species across the Arctic. This expedition will use new health-monitoring
and transportation technology.
- April 2, 2004 - Alarm
Sounded On Narwhal Decline - BBC
The narwhal population
seems to have declined, possibly due to hunting, fishing and local climate
change around Greenland.
- Mar. 25, 2004 - Four
Nunavut Communities Want to Host Whale Hunt - CBC North
Inuit in Nunavut
have received permission for traditional hunting of a bowhead whale.
Several communities want to sponsor the hunt.
- Mar. 24, 2004 - Scores
of Seabirds Starving in Alaska - Las Vegas SUN
seabirds (Common Murres) are dead or dying along the south-central coast
of Alaska. At this point, the cause is unknown. (Photo
of common murre.)
- Mar. 24, 2004 - Reindeer
Herders Building Snowy Drive-In - The State (SC)
in Norway are building a snowmobile drive-in theater for the Eighth
Sami Film Festival, April 5-7.
- Mar. 10, 2004 - Whale
Groups Focus on Cruelty - New Zealand Herald
A report on whaling
from world Animal Welfare groups has been released. This report is a
detailed report of whether current methods of whaling, especially the
explosive harpoon, are humane.The full report can be downloaded from
- Feb. 16, 2004 -
Consumption of Whale Meat Linked to Disruption In Children's Brain Development
- Environmental Investigation Agency
Levels of mercury
are high enough in whales and dolphin to be dangerous to children who
eat these foods. The mercury has been shown to cause damage to the nervous
system if ingested.
- Feb. 13, 2004 -
Study Approves Limited Bowhead Whale Hunt - Nunatsiaq News
A study of the
Bowhead whale population leads wildlife management experts to agree
that one whale can be taken every two years from the Hudson Bay population
and one every thirteen years from the Baffin Bay area. This level is
the same as that agreed to in 1996, for Inuit hunters.
- Feb. 8, 2004 -
Alaskan Sea Otters' Disappearance A Mystery - Yahoo!
The number of
sea otters dropped drastically between 1992 and 2000 in Alaskan waters.
Wildlife officials worry that their reduced numbers will affect other
parts of the food chain adversely. The decline may be due to global
warming, increased ocean pollution or problems elsewhere in the food
- Jan. 30, 2004 -
Exxon's Alaska Spill Bill Climbs to $5.8bn - Australian
An Alaskan judge
has ordered Exxon to pay $US4.5 billion ($Euro5.8) in punitive damages
for the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989. Exxon plans to appeal the decision.
- Jan. 28, 2004 -
Inuit Changed Arctic Ecosystem ... -CBC News
The hunting practices
of prehistoric Inuit whalers dramatically changed an Arctic pond ecosystem
on Somerset Island, long before European settlers arrived according
to researchers who studied sediments and fossils from the pond.
- Jan. 16, 2004 - ...Origins
of Peat Bogs Raises Concerns - Science Daily
bogs which are typically frozen appear to be huge repositories of carbon
dioxide and thus play a major role in world climate balance. If these
bogs thaw due to currently rising temperatures in the Arctic, there
is concern that they may release this gas into the atmosphere causing
major and unexpected shifts in climate. (Similar
story from National Geographic; Another
story from NSF ).
- Jan. 15, 2004 - Global
Warming Affecting Salmon - BBC
The wild salmon
season in Scotland was affected by a serious drop-off in the number
of fish. Scientists believe this population decline is a result of global
- Jan. 10, 2004 - These
Squirrels Are Super Cool - Wired
studying Arctic ground squirrels to learn how they "super-cool"
their bodies. These animals during hibernation can drop its internal
temperature to below freezing and still keep their blood in a liquid
- Jan. 5, 2004 - Alaska
Wildlife Experts Use Floating Lab - The State
a unique shipboard lab to study sea lions and other marine animals and
plants. The Tiglax is a floating science center that has been in use
for 16 years.
Archived News from 2003
17, 2003 - Loss
of Habitat Endangers Norway Reindeer - Reuters
and development of land along with other human activity are rapidly
decreasing the habitat for reindeer in Norway. It is estimated that
they have lost 50% of their habitat over the past 50 years. The
population of reindeer has shrunk 50% since the 1960s, due to disturbance
of breeding grounds.
2003 - Fish
Off Arctic City Get Drug Cocktail From Sewers - Yahoo
a Norwegian city are showing high levels of pain killers and caffeine
in their bodies. It appears that these chemicals, flushed down the
sewers, are not breaking down in the cold Arctic waters. The effects
are, as yet, unknown.
2003 - Northern
Forests Threatened by Global Warming - North CBC
climate will increase the risks of insects, disease and fire in
Northern Canadian forests, say researchers. Officials are urged
to try to "make their forests less flammable" if warming
2003 - Climate
Linked to Reproduction of Right Whales - Science Daily
continues to show a warming trend, the highly endangered right whale
of the North Atlantic may be unable to recover its numbers. Climatic
changes affect the number of zooplankton available. These are the
basis of the whale's diet and it appears that the whale does not
reproduce well unless sufficient food is available.
2003 - Salmon
Choke On Silt - Tidepool (Environment Section)
chinook and soho salmon suffocated when trying to spawn due to huge
amounts of glacial silt in the creeks and rivers. This has been
attributed to unusually warm weather eroding the glaciers on Mount
Adams in Washington.
2003 - Alaska
Board Approves Aerial Shooting of Wolves - Defenders of Wildlife
has been given by the Alaska Board of Game for the shooting of wolves
from aircraft. They say the move is necessary to save declining
moose populations. Opponents do not agree.
2003 - Polar
Bears' Habitat Threatened... - Science Daily
thinning of Arctic sea ice is threatening the polar bear population
as it gives them less time to hunt for food. The sea ice has thinned
about 40% since the 1960s.
2003 - Decline
In Caribou Numbers Sparks Debate - CBC North
caribou herd has declined to approximately half the number seen
in the last survey, 7 years ago, according to scientists. Increased
development in the herd's territory has been blamed by some for
2003 - New
Chemicals in Arctic's Toxic Stew - MSNBC
used in tv sets and computers and as stain removers and flame retardants
have been showing up in polar bears, whales and birds, according
the latest 5 year study. This adds to other toxins that have previously
been found in these animals.
17, 2003 - Spawning
Salmon Polluting Alaskan Lakes... - Bloomberg.com
from the Pacific are carrying PCBs in their fat cells. These PCBs
are probably the result of ocean pollution from coastal factories.
The salmon then seem to be polluting the lakes to which they migrate
with these cancer-causing chemicals.
5, 2003 - Neither
Snow Nor Cold Stops Arctic Fungi - Science Magazine
under the snow is populated with huge numbers of fungi. Many have
never been seen before. These microorganisms are very important
in the tundra ecosystem.
30, 2003 - Extreme
Tides Strand Beluga Whales - CNN.com
Beluga whales were stranded in mud flats after a very low tide near
Anchorage Alaska. Two died, but the rest swam out with the high
6, 2003 - Iceland
To Resume Whaling - CBS News
plans to catch 38 Minke whales as a scientific endeavor. Head of
International Whaling Commission says it is not relevant science
and is not necessary. (See also Ananova
6, 2003 - Researcher
Studies Bringing Musk-Ox To Market - CBC News
are extremely good insulators, a finding made when researchers were
trying to study the animals to determine if they could be raised
1, 2003 - Vanishing
Arctic Gulls Puzzle Biologists - CBC News
of Ivory Gulls in the Arctic has taken a sudden downturn. Breeding
areas where there once were hundreds of gulls now have very few.
2003 - Scientists
Plunge Into Arctic Lakes - CBC News
scientists are collecting water, algae and zooplankton from Lake
Hazen, about 800 km from the North Pole, to get a better handle
on climate change and its effects on Arctic lakes.
2003 - Polar
Bears Threatened By Arctic Ice Decline - Pakistan Daily Times
have been steadily shrinking the Arctic ice pack. This has a negative
impact on the ability of polar bears to hunt enough seals to keep
them healthy. Conservation experts are worried.
2003 - Global
Panel Supports Whale Conservation - CBC News
Whaling Commission voted to improve efforts to protect whales for
in spite of objections from Japan, Norway, Iceland and several other
2003 - Globally,
90% of Large Fish Are Gone - Science A GoGo
have reported, in Nature magazine, that only 10% of all large fish
are left in the sea. Industrial fisheries have had a major impact
on fish populations.
2003 - Biologists
Study Bugs' Antifreeze - National Geographic
are studying how insects live in extreme cold. Their secret seems
to be hemolymph, a substance found in their blood.
17, 2003 - Oldest
DNA Exposes Ancient Ecosystems - New Scientist
ancient animals (8 species) and plants (28 families) has been recovered
from permafrost in northeast Siberia and Alaska. These are the oldest
DNA sequences ever authenticated. (More from Nature)
3, 2003 -Iceland
Bids To Resume Whaling - BBC
asked to be allowed to catch whales for scientific purposes. Conservationists
believe that this is a thinly disguised way to resume commercial
whaling, but Iceland denies the charges.
1, 2003 -Toxin
Threat to Inuit Food - BBC
diet of polar bear, seal, and whale is resulting in "unacceptable"
levels of man-made environmental toxins in the Inuit population
21, 2003 -ANWR
Deal Hailed For Protecting Caribou - CBC North
Senate voted, early this week, not to open the Arctic National Wildlife
Refuge to development. Native Americans hail this as a great decision
as it will protect the caribou calving grounds.
11, 2003 -Central
Caribou Herd Grows... - ANWR Feature
herd population on Alaska's North Slope is the highest ever recorded
according to a recent camera survey by the Alaska Department of
Fish and Game.
05, 2003 -Mixed
Verdict On Effect Of Oil Drilling - Washington Post
from the National Academies of Science and Engineering indicates
that the government has done much to minimize environmental impact
of oil and gas exploration in Alaska, but that the adverse consequences
have not been eliminated and will continue to accumulate in the
region. Read the
2003 - Mammoth
Clone: Science or Simply Fiction - Discovery Channel
at the American Museum of History say there is simply no way to
clone a mammoth from frozen tissue. DNA would be incomplete and
impossible to use for cloning.
2003 - Caribou
Safe From Diamond Hunters? - CBC North
board recommended that Diamonds North be allowed to explore on Victoria
Island. They say it will not disturb the caribou herd that lives
there at risk or pose any other threat to the ecosystem. Some residents
are not convinced.
2003 - Global
Warming Causes Genetic Changes - Science A Go Go
researcher has identified changes in the genetic makeup of Canadian
red squirrels that he attributes to increasing spring temperatures
in the area. This is the first time it has been proven a species
has responded genetically to cope with environmental forces.
2003 - Arctic
Drilling May Imperil Young Golden Eagles -Philadelphia Post-Gazette.com
eagles do not spend their summers in Denali National Park and Preserve,
as previously thought, but head further north to oil-rich areas
of the Arctic.
2003 - FingerPrints
of Global Warming On Wild Plants And Animals - Nature
are concerned on the ability of wild plants and animals to adapt
to the increases in global average temperature. Current studies
indicate that global warming is already stressing many organisms.
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