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FLASH: Wildlife Have Disappeared from ANWR
Filed under: General, Birding & Outdoors
Posted by: Ken @ 3:44 pm


Excerpt From Kenn Kaufman’s Web site,

KKNATURE, Current Topics in Natural History and Wildlife Conservation:

“Some elements within the energy industry have been trying for years to get the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska opened up for for oil drilling.  So far, such attempts have been voted down by congress.  But the current high gasoline prices are seen by some as an opportunity to reopen the debate.

“The issue has suffered from some overheated rhetoric on both sides, with the pro-drilling factions accusing ‘environmental extremists’ of causing the current high gasoline prices.  A calmer assessment of the potential for oil in the Arctic Refuge can be found in a May 2008 report prepared by the Department of Energy.  Their best estimate is that oil from the Arctic Refuge could lower the cost of gasoline at the pump by a little less than four cents per gallon, with the first effects felt in 2018 and maximum impact in 2027-2028.  Given the current progress on alternative energy sources and alternative vehicles, we can reasonably ask whether this savings of less than one percent, achieved 20 years from now, is worth the risk to the environment of the Arctic…” (Read entire article)

July 16, 2008–

Today’s news juxtaposed two very different stories.

The first, reported by Dr. Jeff Wells, of the Boreal Songbird Initiative, is about how an enlightened Provincial government has set aside a 225,000 square kilometer “swath of northern boreal forest larger than the Maritime provinces…  [R]oughly half of Ontario’s boreal forest - will be protected and designated strictly for tourism and traditional aboriginal use.” Full text of article

The other story is sad indeed, as one of our own elected representatives plans to make a visit to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) this weekend, as he is skeptical that any wildlife even live in that “barren” land. House Minority Leader John Boehner explains the reason for his visit:  “But I understand there’s none there. But I’m still going to look for it. If I find any, I’ll let you know.” Full story at

Instead of wasting taxpayer money on such a venture, our leader should first take a peek at the ANWR Web site, which has a list of all the bird and mammal species that are found there, along with their relative abundance. A cursory review of the official bird list for the Arctic Refuge reveals that 195 species have been recorded, of which 52 are “common breeders” and another 46 species are classified as “uncommon breeders.”

To save him time and money, and the trouble of making a startling announcement on his return, he also could simply consult an FAQ on the ANWR Web site itself, which states that “[t]he only endangered species that may reach the Refuge is the Spectacled Eider. These birds, however, generally nest further west, so even if they were not reduced in number it is very rare for one to appear on the Refuge. There are no other species in the Refuge that are either threatened or endangered.”

Guaranteed! He will not see even one endangered species! I can’t wait to hear his big announcement upon returning from his weekend “safari.” I wonder how long his bird list will be, as many of the breeders have already packed up and headed south.


Save Our Boreal Birds “300 Million Birds Say Thanks” for one of the most significant conservation actions in history

Audubon Action Petition US government to minimize ecologic impact of Border Wall
The BirdFreak Mining for Declining Birds
It’s a Bird Thing Judy’s essays on New Mexico birding.  Makes me miss the place even more!
Aimophila Adventures EEW! Rick Wright goes “birding in the buff” (sans binos)
Bird Watchers Digest Bill’s Top Ten List of almost anything a birder needs to know
Passionate Birder On the Evolution of a Birder
Janine Images My South Florida neighbor’s stunning wildlife photos
Urban Hawks The urban raptors of Manhattan have had a “horrible” year
Today’s Chuckle Rep.
Boehner Skeptical Wildlife Lives in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge– 
“But I understand there’s none there. But I’m still going to look for
it. If I find any, I’ll let you know.”

2 Responses to “FLASH: Wildlife Have Disappeared from ANWR”

  1. Ken Says:
    I received this valuable information from Melanie Quigley, Program Assistant, Boreal Songbird Initiative–

    Hello! I read your blog regularly and I work with Jeff Wells on his blog that focuses on birds in Canada’s boreal forest.

    Anyway, Ontario just announced this huge land conservation plan that will really help out some of those endangered birds. If you haven’t heard about it, here is a bit of background. I thought maybe this subject would be suitable for a post on your blog. It’s such good news to see that we may see more of our favorite birds because of this decision.

    Jeff Wells, our resident ornithologist also did a blog on this. Thanks for considering and keep up the quality bird blogging! Let me know if you have any questions
    Melanie Quigley

    A historically large land conservation announcement was released yesterday by the Ontario Government, with Premier Dalton McGuinty (equivalent to a US governor) committing to protect at least half of Ontario’s Boreal Forest. The landmark decision established the protection of more than 225,000 square kilometers (approximately 86,900 square miles) – or 55 million acres – of Canada’s Boreal Forest. It also requires industries to consult with First Nations and environmental groups prior to developing land.

    Here’s a link to the official release from the Premier:

    The decision was largely inspired by a letter sent to the Canadian government on behalf of over 1500 scientists worldwide advocating for protection of 50% of the Boreal Forest. Canada’s Boreal Forest is home to a diverse array of migratory birds and wildlife, and is facing increasing pressure from oil, mining, and logging industries. Ontario’s conservation plan also calls for the protected lands to be interconnected, as this better enables Ontario’s wildlife the ability to live and breed.

    Here’s a link to the letter from the scientists:

    Here’s a link to a larger summary of the Boreal Forest:

    In addition, the Boreal Forest acts as a carbon storehouse, which helps curb the impact of global warming. Ontario’s Boreal Forest alone absorbs 12.5 million tons of CO2 out of the atmosphere each year, and this announcement shows Ontario’s strong commitment to combat global warming.

    Here’s a link to a scientific factsheet showing the carbon storage effect of the Boreal Forest:

    Some statements regarding the announcement: “Premier McGuinty’s landmark commitment brilliantly answers the call of over 1,500 of the world’s top scientists, who last year recommended protecting at least 50 percent of Canada’s Boreal Forest. It propels Ontario to the forefront of Canada’s provinces in environmental leadership. And it will dramatically improve the climate for business through smart, sustainable development while safeguarding vast tracts of this global environmental treasure.”

    Steve Kallick, Director, International Boreal Conservation Campaign (IBCC),
    The Pew Environment Group

    “We applaud the Premier’s bold initiative and commitment to work with First Nations, local communities, scientists and stakeholders to find the right balance for Ontario’s Boreal”, stated Larry Innes, ED of CBI. “The stewardship of this globally-important region will require solutions and support from all sides. This is a tremendous opportunity to get it right, and it looks like all the elements are there for success”.
    Larry Innes, Director, Canadian Boreal Initiative

    Here are some articles for reference discussing the tremendous announcement:
    Montreal Gazette:

    Globe and Mail:

    Toronto Star:
  2. Janine Says:
    Hey Ken, Thanks for the plug! ;) Saw your posting on TAS last week. My dad mentioned that he drove by the nest site a couple of weeks ago and saw an eagle perched on the nest- whether it was just resting, or eating a kill, he could not tell. However I think its probably too late in the season for them to be nesting again. Saw a juvenile baldie flying at intersection of Sawgrass Expressway and Commercial yesterday. Cheers, J

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