Yesterday KMXT told you all about a new project for Kodiak High School and Middle School students, one that partners them with NASA scientists to try and forecast earthquakes.
The work is being done through Trillium Learning’s American Bridge Project, and brought the world’s first two Global Earthquake Forecasting System sensing platforms to Kodiak last month. One was placed on top of the Gerald C. Wilson Auditorium, and another was sent to Old Harbor.
The platforms collect electrical and magnetic signals, among other data, but also include a full NOAA-class weather station on each platform.
“So we can tell how much wind, wind gusts, rain, humidity, temperature – all these things are actually being recorded.”
That’s Ron Fortunado, the president of Trillium Learning. He said the students working with the platform in Old Harbor went nuts when they learned about the weather stations included in the project, something he didn’t expect.
“Because they don’t have a weather station down there.”
Instead, Fortunado learned that Old Harbor relies on weather forecasts from Kodiak airport.
“If they knew what the weather was like down here they would know whether or not to send a plane or not, or a maritime or fishing fleet – we would know better about what the conditions were and stuff like that. So with a weather station down there, localizing in a place based manner, now they’re going to use it to do all sorts of climate studies in their environmental science classes and things like that.”
Fortunado said he had no idea how important and useful a weather station would be for the community of Old Harbor, and is glad the earthquake forecasting project can be beneficial in multiple ways.
The four bear cub siblings in Old Harbor that were orphaned when their mother had to be put down as a nuisance dump bear, haven’t been seen in a week.
Fish and Game Regional Wildlife Supervisor Larry Van Daele, who had organized a rescue mission for the quadruplets, says they haven’t been spotted since last Tuesday. That was the day before he and others went to the village to try and trap them. A bear research park in Sweden said it would take the cubs, and Shell Oil said it would fund their transport.
Van Daele said in an e-mail Monday afternoon that a couple of adult boars were seen in the vicinity of the Old Harbor landfill, where the cubs were spending much of their time, and there is a good chance one of them was responsible for either scaring the cubs away or killing them.
He said villagers are continuing to keep an eye out for the cubs, but there have been no reports of sightings.
Alaska Department of Fish and Game personnel, local officials and a dipnet were all standing by in Old Harbor yesterday (Wednesday) to corral four orphaned bear cubs, but the guests of honor were noticeably absent.
The quadruplet cubs were orphaned last week when their mother had become a nuisance dump bear in the community and was put down by officials. The six-month old cubs, whose chances for survival on their own were slim, were facing the same fate until the Lieutenant Governor and Shell Oil won them a reprieve.
The bears needed to be captured by hand, as they’re too young and small to shoot with a tranquilizer gun, so Fish and Game’s Larry Van Daele and others organized a rescue mission for yesterday morning. But last night he said the bear cubs were nowhere to be found.
He speculated the hot weather might have kept them in the shade where it’s cooler, or, they may have met the fate of many bear cubs and were killed by adult male bears.
Van Daele said a trap of sorts was placed inside the electric fence around the Old Harbor dump and it is under surveillance in case the cubs come back. He said he and his team are on standby through the weekend to fly down and complete the rescue.
When deterrents – including an electric fence – failed to chase off a dump bear in Old Harbor last week, it was shot and killed by authorities, lest it become a further nuisance. When the sow was shot, though, she left behind four orphaned six-month-old cubs.
“Because there weren’t any homes in qualified places, we said, ‘Well they just need to be euthanized.’ And that was Friday that we made that decision,” said Alaska Department of Fish and Game Regional Supervisor Larry Van Daele.
He added that cubs this young could not survive on their own.
“Cubs of the year, I mean, like I say, they’re like six month old puppies, basically. And they have almost a zero percent chance of making it. In fact, they’d probably be dead by now if it wasn’t for the fact most of the other bears in that area are eating salmonberries and a lot of fish are coming up,” he said. “And these little guys have actually been going into the dump for protection. And they’re finding food in there too. So, they probably couldn’t survive, even in the dump on their own, for another couple months or so, but they seem to be doing okay for right now.”
But, before they could be euthanized, Van Daele says the four cubs were given a reprieve, thanks to efforts by several groups and individuals. Continue reading
OLD HARBOR, Alaska (AP) — An Alaska Fish and Game Department official says a thin female brown bear with four young cubs has been fatally shot Monday at the Old Harbor landfill after numerous efforts to deter her failed and she repeatedly menaced people.
Fish and Game regional supervisor Larry Van Daele described the bear as a landfill “junkie,” saying she could not break the habit of eating garbage, even with a new electric fence around and a nearby stream full of salmon.
Trooper Sgt. Eric Olsen said the Old Harbor Bear Patrol Team tried for months to scare the animal off, blaring the village police officer’s vehicle siren and pelting the bear with rubber bullets and bean bags.
In a statement, troopers described the bear as blind in one eye and “very emaciated.” Van Daele says the cubs have not been seen since their mother was shot. He says their survival chances are not good.
Alaska senior Senator Lisa Murkowski is spending several days around Kodiak Island this week. She arrived Tuesday, just missing Crab Fest, but she missed the rain, as well. Like her junior colleague, Senator Mark Begich, who visited over the weekend, Murkowski was taking advantage of the Memorial Day congressional break to return to Alaska. “We … walked up to the reservoir and dam, talked about some of the issues they have. Then we took another boat over to Port Lions and I had a chance to just kind of gain a sense of some of their priorities,” she said. The senator spent much of Wednesday in Old Harbor where she got to observe the archeology dig the Alutiiq Museum is doing near the airport expansion there. “To be out on a site, looking out over the water and realize that what you’re looking down on is a smokehouse that dates back to about 7,200-years old,” she said. “It just really gives you a sense of perspective.” Murkowski met with Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge personnel upon returning to Kodiak, as well as folks from KEA. She said it was good to spend an extended amount of time in a community, rather than just dropping in for a few hours. “I’ve seen the Power-Points, I’ve seen the schematics, but there’s nothing like boots on the ground and actually looking to where the needs are and how we can help our smaller communities develop some local economy.” A reception at the Kodiak Island Brewing Company was held late Wednesday afternoon where she announced her support for a tax relief act for craft brewers. Murkowski had run into owner Ben Millstein in Washington D.C. a couple weeks ago and he talked to her about the “Small Brew Act.”