Alaskas Wildlife: on the Verge of Extinction ( )

                         FAR-EASTEN STATE TRANSPORT
                                 UNIVERSITY



                                         Foreign language department



                               RESEARCH PAPER


                     Alaskas Wildlife: on the Verge of
                                 Extinction



                                       Done by:

                                       Checked by:


                                 Khabarovsk
                                    2001
                                    PLAN:
     1. Wildlife Species4
     2.  Wildlife Problems7
     3. Wildlife Center.9
     4. Bibliography....11



                                INTRODUCTION
      Alaskas mountains  rise  like  walls;  four  seas  and  unimaginable
distances form a  mighty  moat;  and  a  patchwork  of  national  parks  and
wildlife refuges protects more than a third of the state.  Its  a  fortress
for wildlife.
      Shielded from civilization, bears, wolves,  moose,  and  caribou  cast
their huge shadows from coast to coast, and musk oxen travel the  far  north
like refugees of the last ice age. Migratory birds flock river  deltas  each
summer, and raptors prowl Alaskan skies year-round.
      As  with  any  fortress,  wild  Alaskas   perimeter   is   especially
vulnerable. Tankers laden with oil from bays and coastal wetlands skirt  the
seaboard. Though now protected, endangered whales resist  to  rebuild  their
populations. Like sea lions and other marine mammals, they now must  compete
with massive trawlersfloating factoriesfor the seas falling harvest.
      In this research paper I would like to investigate extinction problem.
Many facts I have found show that this problem is  very  urgent.  I  am  not
sure that everybody understands it but if  more  people  realize  this  many
problems will be solved.



                               ALASKA SPECIES
      Wildlife can be found everywhere in Alaska, from cities  where  moose,
bears and wolves roam to more than 18 million acres designated  by  Congress
as wilderness areas as part of the National Wilderness Preservation  System.
However, most refuges in Alaska require travel  via  air  transport,  making
them difficult and expensive to reach.
      Many species in Alaska such as black and brown  bears,  wolves,  moose
and many others are on the verge of  Extinction.  They  are  interesting  in
their own way. So, lets learn about them more than we do.
      Black bears are usually smaller than brown bears. They can look alike,
but there are several ways you can tell the bears apart. Black  bears  don't
have a shoulder hump like brown bears. Black  bears  also  have  a  straight
face, compared  to  the  brown  bear's  bowl-shaped  face.  Their  paws  are
different too. Black bears' claws are short and curved and brown bears  have
longer, straighter claws. Black bears have  been  known  to  live  in  every
state, except Hawaii. They can be found in most forested areas in Alaska.
      Like brown bears, black bears hibernate  in  the  winter.  They  start
hibernating in the fall and come out of their  dens  in  the  spring.  Their
dens are found in hollow trees  or  rocks.  They  also  build  dens  on  the
ground. A person may walk right over a  bear  den  and  not  even  know  it,
unless the bear wakes up, of course.
      Moose like bears can be brown or black but they have longer  legs  and
larger body than bears do. Alaska is full of moose. In Anchorage,  you  have
a good chance of spotting a moose on the Coastal Trail or  in  Kincaid  Park
early in the morning or just before sunset. Moose like to roam  along  roads
and highways that are close to  rivers  and  ponds.  They  also  take  walks
through the city and neighborhoods.
      Musk oxen look huger than bears and moose. They are large animals with
humped shoulders and dark brown shaggy fur that is so long it  almost  drags
on the ground. A light brown patch of fur is on their back. Their  legs  are
also light brown. Musk oxen have horns that  look  like  big  curls  on  the
sides of their head. During  the  winter,  they  use  their  hooves  to  dig
through the snow for grass to eat, but they try to stay in areas  where  the
snow has blown away.
      The fur on a musk ox helps it survive the cold and  windy  winters  on
the arctic tundra. Under their brown shaggy fur is  another  layer  of  soft
brownish fur that keeps them warm. Musk oxen have so much fur  that  if  you
were to shave it all off, they would only be the size of a small cow.
      If we move from the forest to the beaches we will see  walruses.  They
are big and they eat a lot.  Some  can  weigh  up  to  two  tons.  They  eat
hundreds of pounds of clams, mussels, snails  and  sea  worms  almost  every
day. Using tiny whiskers on their face, they feel around  for  food  on  the
bottom of the sea. When they find a clam, they use their lips  to  suck  the
meat out of the shell.
      Walruses change color when they go in and out of the water.  On  land,
they are reddish-brown and when they swim, their skin turns pink  or  white.
Their skin is so tough and thick that only killer  whales  and  polar  bears
can chew through it.
      The polar bears are the worlds largest land carnivore. The bears  can
weigh more than 1,000 pounds. These  sea  bears  are  excellent  swimmers.
They use their front feet to dog paddle and their back legs  to  steer.  But
the walrus is faster so can kill a polar  bear  by  swimming  under  it  and
stabbing the bear with his long ivory tusks.
      Other sea species that you can see in Alaska are sea  otters.  Theyve
been nicknamed Old Man of the Sea comes from the silver hairs and whitish-
silvery head of older otters. The underfur is brown, dark  brown  or  black;
pale brown or silver guard hairs.
      Puffins nickname Parrots of  the  Sea  because  of  their  brightly
colored beaks. But these  birds  arent  always  colorful.  At  the  end  of
breeding season, their black  feathers  turn  brown  and  their  white  face
patches become dark, almost turning black.
      So, it must be very interesting to  know  how  species  are  breeding.
First of all, males should attract females  attention.  For  example,  male
walruses sing love songs to female  walruses  underwater.  The  songs  sound
like church bells. They also grunt and snort, and they stink like pigs.
      What is happing after that? As for puffins, both of  parents  incubate
the single egg for 42 to 47 days. After it hatches, the chick stays  in  the
nest for another 45 to 55 days, until it can fly.
      This is  the  variety  of  Alaskas  wildlife.  Many  species  are  so
beautiful but everything cant  be  so  good  in  our  life.  There  is  one
little problem: EXTINCTION!



                              WILDLIFE PROBLEMS

      Since life began on this planet, countless creatures  have  come  and
gone - rendered  extinct  by  naturally  changing  physical  and  biological
conditions.
      The State of Alaska is  frightened  of  extinction.  More  than  1,000
wolves killed every year. Not a single wolf pack is protected  from  hunting
and trapping throughout its entire variety in Alaska.  Trapping  within  and
outside of the park,  cruelly  impacts  Denali  National  Park  wolves,  the
longest studied and  most  widely  viewed  in  the  world.  Trappers  killed
Denalis  Savage  River  pack,  and  the  last  remaining  female   of   the
Headquarters pack. Nearly 12,000 grizzly bears were  killed  in  Alaska  in
the past 10 years. Alaska hunters kill about 22,000 caribou every year.
      Sea otters were nearly extinct due to heavy commercial harvests  until
the Fur Seal Treaty of 1911 gave them full protection.  An  estimated  2,000
sea otters existed then, compared to as many as 160,000  by  the  mid-1970s.
Alaska Natives may still hunt sea otters, which they use for food and  other
purposes.
      Moose meat is also a popular food among Alaskans.  Between  6,000  and
8,000 moose are hunted every year. Thats 3.5 million pounds of  meat.  Some
of meat from the moose that are hit and killed on highways is used  to  feed
the hungry.
      Puffin populations are abundant in Alaska, but they are  declining  in
the Lower 48. Oil pollution and fishery conflicts are  to  blame  for  their
decreasing numbers. Alaska Natives used to  hunt  the  birds  for  food  and
clothing, making parkas out of puffin skins. Today federal  and  state  laws
protect their nesting colonies.
      The State does not have accurate population figures for wolves, bears,
lynx, fox and other species  yet thousands are legally  killed  each  year.
It is legal to hunt and trap on most National Park lands in  Alaska.  Though
wildlife viewers represent over 80% of Alaskans, the Alaska Board  of  Game
(Alaska wildlife-policy decision makers) consists entirely  of  hunters  and
trappers. Less than 3% of the Alaska Department of Fish & Games  budget  is
devoted to wildlife viewing.

                       Wolves Legally/Reported Killed
|Regulatory Year   |Number killed       |
|1988-89           |858                 |
|1989-90           |941                 |
|1990-91           |1089                |
|1991-92           |1162                |
|1992-93           |1051                |
|1993-94           |1583                |
|1994-95           |1457                |
|1995-96           |1230                |
|1996-97           |1280                |

      Every year the population of wolves decreases. According to the  table
many poachers kill more and more wolves from year to year.  The  problem  of
killing wolves makes the government pay attention to the critical  situation
in Alaska.



                               WILDLIFE CENTER
      The problem of extinction worries Big  Game  Alaska  Wildlife  Center.
This center was created for helping animals, birds and  mammals  that  cant
fight for surviving.
      Last year Big Game Alaska Wildlife Center received moose, deer,  black
and grizzly bears, owls, bison musk ox and a variety of game  are  birds  to
care for. Big Game Alaska is entirely self-supported and relies on  customer
support to continue its mission of wildlife rehabilitation.
      The original members of Big Game's bison family were abandoned  calves
that had to be bottle-fed. The largest, named Big Boy now weighs  more  than
1 ton.
      Bison are gregarious and live in herds whose range includes grasslands
and open woodlands. They have poor eyesight and depend  on  their  sense  of
hearing and smell.
      Big Game Alaska has cared for and stabilized a large number of  moose,
the largest member of the deer family. Mattie, a 5-year-old  cow  moose  was
brought to Big Game when  she  was  less  than  5-days-old.  Stray  dogs  in
Palmer, Alaska, killed her mother.  Mattie  has  starred  in  more  than  10
commercials and loves to  eat  bananas.  Seymour,  a  4-year-old  bull,  was
brought  to  Big  Game  when  he  was  1-year-old  and  faltering   due   to
malnutrition.
      Black-tailed deer are often orphaned in areas where  there  is  active
logging and the deer are run over by  trucks.  Big  Game  has  rehabilitated
deer from the outermost tip of Southeast Alaska, as well as  deer  from  the
Prince William Sound area. These  tiny  fawns  usually  weigh  less  than  5
pounds when they arrive at the wildlife center.
      Black-tailed deer are smaller than their southern cousins. The antlers
are similar to the mule deer, forking rather than all points coming  from  a
single main beam. The black-tail deer is rarely found  on  the  mainland  of
Alaska, preferring the islands of Alaska's coastal rain forests.
      Caribou are rarely orphaned because another member of  the  herd  will
usually care for any calves who lose their mother. A number  of  Big  Game's
caribou were rescued from islands that  were  overpopulated  and  could  not
sustain healthy animals. To prevent starvation  some  animals  were  removed
and Big Game shared in the rescue effort.
      The Musk Oxen is a member of the goat family. It is an arctic survivor
with a thick coat consisting of long (up to 36 inches) guard hairs  covering
a dense winter coat  of  harvestable  warm  fur  called  Qiviut.  Qiviut  is
considered to be one of the warmest material in the world.
      The two male musk oxen at Big Game  Alaska  are  part  of  a  research
program  in  conjunction  with  the  Institute  of  Arctic  Biology  at  the
University of Alaska Fairbanks. The under wool is  combed  out  in  May  and
Qiviut products are sold in the gift shop.
      Musk ox populations have been drastically  reduced  in  recent  years.
Hunted to extinction in Alaska in 1865 and successfully reintroduced with  a
small herd from Greenland in the 1930s.



                                 CONCLUSION
      Alaska is often called the last frontier  and  with  good  reason,  it
contains some of the most remote and unexplored  wilderness  areas  left  in
the world today.  Alaska  has  always  seemed  to  draw  those  looking  for
adventure and the Wildlife and Nature lovers. Alaska  is  made  up  of  many
diverse ecological regions and each  has  it's  own  special  features  that
makes it a unique place.
      The Wildlife of Alaska is to me  though,  the  most  remarkable  thing
about "The Great Land", Seeing Eagle, Bear, Caribou and  Moose  on  a  daily
basis never gets old, it just amazes!  But  we  shouldnt  forget  that  the
beauty of Alaska isnt eternal. If we want to show  our  children  where  we
lived we should take care of animals, birds  and  mammals.  The  problem  of
extinction isnt related to Alaska only. In our country this problem  exists
too.
      And in conclusion all of us should always remember the wise advice  of
a great English writer John Galsworthy who said: If you dont  think  about
the future you will not have it.



                                BIBLIOGRAPHY
     1. Robert B.Weeden. Alaska. Promises to keep.  Boston, 1978.
     2. Internet:
            . www.akwildlife.org
            . www.biggamealaska.com
            . www.inalaska.com
            . www.travelalaska.com





"Alaskas Wildlife: on the Verge of Extinction ( ) "