Archive for December, 2010

Michigan “elusive” moose population to be hunted?

December 23, 2010

Michigan will probably allow for licences to hunt moose, but the debate is on. Some scientists want to stop the new legislation. In the mid 1980’s, 59 moose were imported from Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario, Canada to western Marquette County in hopes of establishing a population that eventually could be hunted.

Hornfar

Michigan moving closer to allowing moose hunt

Original article here

Associated Press – December 15, 2010 5:24 PM ET LANSING, Mich. (AP) – Michigan is moving closer to allowing a moose hunt. The state Legislature on Wednesday gave final approval to a bill that would allow the first open hunting season for moose in the state. The bill approved unanimously by the Senate and 82-9 by the House directs state officials to set up a moose hunting advisory council. The council would make a recommendation on how many moose should be allowed to be killed during a hunt and how long a season would last. Effects on the moose population would have to be considered. A moose hunting license would cost $100. The bill now goes to Gov. Jennifer Granholm. The moose hunting bill is Senate Bill 1013.

Scientists urge veto of moose hunting bill

They say little is known about long-term impact

JOHN FLESHER • ASSOCIATED PRESS • DECEMBER 21, 2010

Original article here

TRAVERSE CITY – A group of scientists mounted a last-ditch effort Monday to derail legislation that could lead to moose hunting in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, contending too little is known about the size of the herd and its long-term prospects for survival. Rolf Peterson, a Michigan Tech University moose expert, and 13 other biologists at Michigan universities sent a letter to Gov. Jennifer Granholm urging a veto of a bill that would create a panel to study the matter and recommend whether to allow the hunts. The measure cleared the Legislature this month with little opposition.

Granholm had not signed the measure as of Monday but plans to do so, spokeswoman Katie Carey said, adding that she didn’t know whether the scientists’ eleventh-hour appeal would sway the outgoing Democratic governor.

Elusive Animals

Wildlife managers believe roughly 500 moose wander Michigan’s far north but acknowledge it’s hard to pinpoint the exact number of the elusive mammals. Peterson said the herd has reached only about half the total anticipated in the mid-1980s, when officials hauled 59 moose from Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario, Canada, to western Marquette County in hopes of establishing a population that eventually could be hunted.

The moose are “seriously challenged by ecological conditions,” the scientists’ letter said. “Decisions about whether or how to hunt moose in Michigan should be delayed until an independent scientific panel comprised of appropriate experts evaluates the relevant issues.”

Sen. Jason Allen, a Traverse City Republican who sponsored the bill, said it doesn’t require a moose hunt but simply authorizes the study. The final call would be made by the Natural Resources Commission, which sets state hunting and fishing policy, he said.

Number Of Factors

Scientists believe a number of factors probably have limited growth of the herd, including an increase in numbers of whitetail deer, which carry a brainworm parasite that is fatal to moose. The warming climate also may be a problem. Moose are cold-weather animals and the Upper Peninsula is on the southern fringe of their comfort zone, said Brian Roell, the DNRE’s moose specialist.

Ancient trumpets played eerie notes

December 19, 2010
Scientists analyze tunes from 3,000-year-old conch-shell instruments for insight into pre-Inca civilization
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PREHISTORIC POPComputer scientist and musician Perry Cook plays a tune on a 3,000-year-old conch-shell instrument discovered in Peru. José Luis Cruzado, Chavin de Huantar Investigation and Conservation Project

Listen to shell music.

Now you can hear a marine-inspired melody from before the time of the Little Mermaid’s hot crustacean band. Acoustic scientists put their lips to ancient conch shells to figure out how humans used these trumpets 3,000 years ago. The well-preserved, ornately decorated shells found at a pre-Inca religious site in Peru offered researchers a rare opportunity to jam on primeval instruments.

The music, powerfully haunting and droning, could have been used in religious ceremonies, the scientists say. The team reported their analysis November 17 at the Second Pan-American/Iberian Meeting on Acoustics in Cancun, Mexico.

“You can really feel it in your chest,” says Jonathan Abel, an acoustician at Stanford University’s Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics. “It has a rough texture like a tonal animal roar.”

Archaeologists had unearthed 20 complete Strombus galeatus marine shell trumpets in 2001 at Chavín de Huántar, an ancient ceremonial center in the Andes. Polished, painted and etched with symbols, the shells had well-formed mouthpieces and distinct V-shaped cuts. The cuts may have been used as a rest for the player’s thumb, says study coauthor Perry Cook, a computer scientist at Princeton University and avid shell musician, or to allow the player to see over the instrument while walking.

To record the tunes and understand the acoustic context in which the instruments, called pututus, were played, the researchers traveled to Chavín.

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ANCIENT ACCOMPANIMENTAncient civilizations in Peru might have played this 3,000-year-old shell trumpet as part of a religious ceremony. New research has reconstructed what the instrument would have sounded like inside the religious site’s ceremonial chamber. Jyri Huopaniemi

As an expert shell musician blew into the horn, researchers recorded the sound’s path via four tiny microphones placed inside the player’s mouth, the shell’s mouthpiece, the shell’s main body and at the shell’s large opening, or bell. Similar to a bugle, the instruments only sound one or two tones, but like a French horn, the pitch changes when the player plunges his hand into the bell.

The team used signal-processing software to characterize the acoustic properties of each trumpet. Following the sound’s path made it possible to reconstruct the ancient shell’s interior, a feat that normally involves sawing the shell apart or zapping it with X-rays.

The researchers also wanted to know how the site’s ceremonial chamber, a stone labyrinth with sharply twisting corridors and ventilation shafts, changed the trumpet’s sound. To find out, the team arranged six microphones around the musician and reconstructed the sound patterns on a computer.

If the trumpets were played inside the stone chamber in which they were found, the drone would have sounded like it was coming from several different directions at once. In the dimly lit religious center, that could have created a sense of confusion, Abel says.

“Were they used to scare people while they were there?” asks Abel. “There are still a lot of things left open.”

Turns out, such questions about how sounds affect people and their behavior, an area called psychoacoustics, can be tested. It’s a field of active research, and not just for ancient civilizations: Another group at Stanford is now studying how a room’s acoustics affects human behavior. In one recent experiment, researchers separated test subjects into different acoustic environments to do a simple task — ladling water from one bucket to another in a dimly lit room.

“What your ear can actually hear plays into how you would behave, or the psychological experience in the situation,” says Abel.

SHELL CACOPHONY

A group of conch-shell instruments made by a pre-Inca civilization sound similar to a kid learning to play the trumpet.
Click here to listen.

ANCIENT TONE

A musician plays the fundamental frequency and the first overtone of a 3,000-year-old shell trumpet unearthed in Peru.
Click here to listen.

Credit: Miriam Kolar

Viking silver thieves arrested, loot recovered

December 19, 2010

History Blog, December 8th 2010
Original article here

Stolen Viking silver coins recovered on GotlandFive men have been arrested on the Swedish island of Gotland for having stolen 1,000 Viking-era silver coins. The entire hoard from which the looters helped themselves to 1,000 coins was over twice that size: 2,000 German, English and Danish coins from the 1060s.

Gotland, a large island in the middle of the Baltic off the southeast coast of Sweden, is replete with Viking hoards. Sadly, it is also replete with looters who illegally dig up whatever treasures they can find, then sell them online or through shady dealers. Since there is so much ground to cover and the weather rarely cooperates to keep looted sites in CSI condition, not only do thieves often get away with it, but the thefts themselves are not discovered.

It was a fortuitous chain of circumstance that brought these scofflaws to justice.

Part of a crucifix from the 11th century was found in the ground where the looters dug. Several days later, an email was discovered by chance with a photo of a part of a crucifix.

A comparison of the find and the image showed that the parts belonged together and that the crucifix came from the hiding place in the field in Gandarve.

“The person who had sent the email was suspected of having attempted to sell the crucifix and he led us on to another person with ties to Gotland,” said prosecutor Mats Wihlborg.

During a raid on a property on Gotland, investigators came across three people with metal detectors, shovels and backpacks. After examining computers and GPS equipment, they also found links between the defendants and two other places where the looters had struck on Gotland.

The looters will be charged with preparation of aggravated crime against relics and aggravated crime against relics. The charges carry a potential sentence of four years in prison. Three of the defendants are thought to be the ringleaders responsible for multiple thefts. The prosecutor is delighted. He noted that it’s extremely rare for cases to actually reach the point of prosecution, and especially not of a full-on looting ring.

Looters are not just hobbyists who stumbled on a treasure and decided to keep it or even sell it on the down low. They are organized, experienced and well-versed in the geography of the island. They often operate at night to avoid detection, and they’re damn good at it. That’s why these arrests are so important to the Gotland authorities.

Reindeer escapes in Sunderland!

December 19, 2010

Original article here

A reindeer has been spotted in the loose in Sunderland after escaping from its enclosure at a local park.

A reindeer like this was on the loose in Sunderland

A reindeer like this one escaped and trotted through the city centre

It’s thought that a dog scared the creature, causing it to leap over a fence and make a dash for freedom.

It trotted through the city centre, followed by police cars, while loads of people were out Christmas shopping.

The reindeer was finally caught and returned – unharmed – to the park, where extra fencing has now been put up to stop any more animal escapes.

Olive Fraser, who spotted the reindeer running through the street, said: “We were just standing in the forecourt of the garage and I just caught a glance.

“I knew it wasn’t a dog because it was so big but when I went out there was no sign of it.”

The council are now reminding dog owners to keep their pets on leads.

One scientist’s hobby: recreating the Ice Age

December 19, 2010

Russian claims his theory to introduce herds of animals to Siberia can slow global warming.

By ARTHUR MAX The Associated Press 11/27/2010
Original article here


Semi-wild Yakutian horses are seen at the Pleistocene Park, a 40,000 acre wilderness in northern Siberia, Russia. Russian scientist Sergey Zimov is trying to recreate conditions from the end of the Ice Age when this area was rich in wildlife and summer meadows.

CHERSKY, Russia — Wild horses have returned to northern Siberia. So have musk oxen, hairy beasts that once shared this icy land with woolly mammoths and saber-toothed cats. Moose and reindeer are here, and may one day be joined by Canadian bison and deer.

Later, the predators will come — Siberian tigers, wolves and maybe leopards.

Russian scientist Sergey Zimov is reintroducing these animals to the land where they once roamed in millions to demonstrate his theory that filling the vast emptiness of Siberia with grass-eating animals can slow global warming.

“Some people have a small garden. I have an ice age park. It’s my hobby,” says Zimov, smiling through his graying beard. His true profession is quantum physics.

Climate change is felt most sharply in the Arctic, where temperatures are warming faster than anywhere else on the planet. Most climate scientists say human activity, especially industrial pollution and the byproducts of everyday living like home heating and driving cars, is triggering an unnatural warming of the Earth. On Monday, negotiators representing 194 countries open a two-week conference in Cancun, Mexico, on reducing greenhouse gases to slow the pace of climate change.

‘Interesting experiment’
Zimov is trying to recreate an ecosystem that disappeared 10,000 years ago with the end of the ice age, which closed the 1.8 million-year Pleistocene era and ushered in the global climate roughly as we know it.

He believes herds of grazers will turn the tundra, which today supports only spindly larch trees and shrubs, into luxurious grasslands. Tall grasses with complex root systems will stabilize the frozen soil, which is now thawing at an ever-increasing rate, he says.

Herbivores keep wild grass short and healthy, sending up fresh shoots through the summer and autumn. Their manure gives crucial nourishment. In winter, the animals trample and flatten the snow that otherwise would insulate the ground from the cold air. That helps prevent the frozen ground, or permafrost, from thawing and releasing powerful greenhouse gases. Grass also reflects more sunlight than forests, a further damper to global warming.

It would take millions of animals to change the landscape of Siberia and effectively seal the permafrost. But left alone, Zimov argues, the likes of caribou, buffalo and musk oxen multiply quickly. Wherever they graze “new pastures will appear … beautiful grassland.”

The project is being watched not only by climate scientists but by paleontologists and environmentalists who have an interest in “rewilding.”

“This is a very interesting experiment,” said Adrian Lister, of the Natural History Museum in London. “I think it’s valid from an ecological point of view to put back animals that did formerly live there,” he told AP Television News. He disapproved of suggestions to rewild nonnative species — for example, relocating elephants and rhinos to the American plains.

Zimov began the project in 1989, fencing off 160 square kilometers (40,000 acres) of forest, meadows, shrub land and lakes. It is surrounded by another 600 square kilometers (150,000 acres) of wilderness.

It is an offshoot of the Northeast Science Station, which he founded and where he has lived for 30 years. Already icebound by October, the park is 40 kilometers (25 miles) inland from the station, accessible only by boat in summer and by snow vehicles after the rivers freeze.

A 32-meter (105-foot) tower inside the park gives constant readings of methane, carbon dioxide and water vapor. The data feeds into a global monitoring system overseen by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Zimov’s research on permafrost, greenhouse gas emissions and mammoth archaeology has attracted world scientists to his laboratories, a small cluster of cabins and a tiny chapel on a rocky bluff above a channel of the Kolyma River. A 20-bed barge is used for field trips in summer, and a $100,000 hovercraft is on order. Zimov sometimes uses an old Russian tank to bring supplies from the Chinese border, 2,000 kilometers (1,200 miles) away.

Part of the station’s attraction — and deterrence — is its remoteness. It is 6,600 kilometers (4,000 miles) and eight time zones east of Moscow. The nearby town of Chersky, with some 5,000 people, has few amenities, and the nearest city, Yakutsk, is a 4-1/2 flight. Many researchers, particularly Americans, prefer to work in Alaska or northern Canada, which are more accessible.

“Most of the Arctic is in Russia, and yet most of the Arctic research isn’t,” said Max Holmes, of Woods Hole Research Center in Massachusetts, director of the Polaris Project, which has sent undergraduates to the station for the last three summers.

‘What’s $1 million?’
Zimov started the park with a herd of 40 Yakutian horses, a semi-wild breed with a handsomely long mane that is raised by Yakuts and other native people for their meat. Short, sturdy and broad-backed, they survive harsh Siberian winters with the help of a furry hide, thick layers of fat and the ability to paw through a meter (3 feet) of snow to forage.

Of his first herd, Zimov said 15 were killed by wolves and bears, 12 died from eating wild hemlock that grows in the park, and two slipped through the perimeter and made their way back some 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) to their

But he bought more. Now the horses have learned to avoid poisonous plants and to resist predators. Over the last three years, more colts were born and survived than horses lost.

The challenge is to find the right balance between grazers and predators, and how to help his animals get through their first winters.

His workers still give occasional buckets of grain to the horses to supplement their diet with salt. About half the horses come regularly to the cabin where a caretaker stays year-round. The other half are rarely seen except for their tracks.

Zimov also has had problems with the moose that he brought inside his enclosure. Moose still live in small numbers in surrounding forests, and the males jump back and forth over the 6-foot-high fence.

In September he traveled to a nature reserve on Wrangel Island, about five hours by boat across the East Siberia Sea, and brought back six 4-month-old musk oxen. One died a few weeks later. The others are kept in a small enclosure and fed hay until they can fend for themselves.

His objective is to see whether a thriving population of grazing animals will regenerate grasslands that disappeared long ago, which would slow and even halt the accelerating pace of permafrost thaw. So far, he says, the results are encouraging.

Today he has 70 animals in the park. He wants thousands to restock Siberia. To bring 1,000 bison from North America would cost $1 million, Zimov says, a small price to pay.

“If permafrost melts, 100 gigatons of carbon will be released this century,” he said. “What’s $1 million? One regular grant.”

___

AP Television News producer Siobhan Starrs and APTN cameraman Dmitry Kozlov contributed to this story.

Harpist to soothe Antarctic chill

December 18, 2010

By Kate Evans Fri Dec 17, 2010 8:10am AEDT
Original article here

Alice Giles will perform a range of music for the residents of Mawson Base when she arrives in February.

Alice Giles will perform a range of music for the residents of Mawson Base when she arrives in February. (ABC News: Kate Evans)

Harpist Alice Giles dreamed of following in her grandfather’s footsteps – but those footsteps lead rather far away.

The internationally-renowned musician lives in Yass, near Canberra, and teaches at the Australian National University School of Music.

She has always been curious about Antarctica.

Her grandfather, Cecil Thomas Madigan, was an explorer who travelled with Douglas Mawson on the first Australasian Antarctic expedition from 1911 – 1914.

“At 22, he was away for two-and-a-quarter years, which is a huge chunk of a young man’s life,” Giles said.

“He had a fiancee, my grandmother, waiting for him at home.

“It was always part of my childhood to hear about this hero grandfather I had.

“So there’s always been a fascination for me with kind of making a connection somehow.”

In February, she will realise that dream, travelling to Antarctica on an Australian Antarctic Division Arts Fellowship, to play and record music at Mawson base.

The trip will take more than a month – but the sea voyage is so long she will only have eight days on dry land.

Giles plans to perform a range of music for the residents of Mawson Base, including well-loved hymns like Abide with Me from the 100-year-old Scottish Students’ Songbook mentioned in her grandfather’s diaries.

She will also play a series of new works composed especially for the journey by Australian composers, including Larry Sitsky and Jim Cotter.

Martin Wesley-Smith has composed a work based on the diaries of Cecil Madigan, reflecting Giles’ relationship with her grandfather; while ANU composition student Joshua McHugh has written a piece entitled Billions of Penguins.

She is taking two harps – her full-sized electro-acoustic harp to play inside the base, and a hardy smaller harp she hopes to play outside and record.

“There’s also something very appealing about the harp and how it reacts with the environment, because it’s a very direct instrument. Just the touch of your fingers or even the wind can create a sound,” she said.

“Mawson’s hut in Commonwealth Bay is meant to be the windiest place in the world, you can get really high blizzard winds, so that will be pretty exciting.

“‘When that goes through the harp it will make a beautiful sound.”

She will also record sounds from the Antarctic environment – penguins, cracking ice, and those wild winds.

“It’ll be a bit of an adventure because I won’t know what the conditions will be,” she said.

“It’s kind of an experiment, as most things are to do with Antarctica.”

Government defends decision to ban narwhal tusk sales

December 18, 2010
By Randy Boswell, Postmedia News December 17, 2010
Original article here

The Canadian government is defending its controversial decision to ban the export of narwhal tusks from most of the Nunavut communities currently selling the spear-like objects that inspired the unicorn myth.

Officials with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans told Postmedia News on Friday that Canada’s hands are essentially tied on the issue because of its commitment to the protocols of an international wildlife treaty controlling the global trade in animal parts — including the long, spiralling tooth that serves as a sensor and mating adornment for the iconic Arctic whale.

The tusks, which can grow longer than three metres, are coveted by collectors as rare keepsakes or used by ivory carvers to make canes, figurines and other objects. A few hundred from Arctic Canada are sold annually to buyers abroad, fetching prices of as much as $2,000 each and generating significant supplementary income for many Inuit hunters.

In 2006, a single mounted narwhal tusk sold at a U.S. auction for more than $16,000.

While acknowledging it was a “difficult decision” that will have a financial impact on Inuit communities, DFO spokesman Alain Belle-Isle said: “The result would be even worse if we skirted the rules,” regulating foreign sales of the tusks.

“If we didn’t follow our obligations,” he noted, “we could face sanctions,” including a total ban on all narwhal products from all Canadian suppliers.

The federal department informed Nunavut communities earlier this week that in order to comply with the terms of CITES — the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora — Canada would suspend foreign sales of narwhal tusks harvested in 2010 in 17 of the 22 Inuit communities that are now exporting the objects.

News of the decision prompted outrage from Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., which represents Inuit land-claim interests in the territory. Inuit hunters are already facing international pressure over seal and polar bear harvests.

“DFO does not have the right to impose such restrictions upon Inuit, particularly when the (narwhal) population is thriving, and harvest numbers do not threaten the species,” NTI president Cathy Towtongie said in a statement issued this week. “NTI is considering legal options at this time.”

While narwhals are widely seen as one of the Arctic’s most vulnerable species in an era of climate change and melting ice, Canadian scientists using new counting methods recently revised the estimated population of the whales at the north of Baffin Island to 60,000 from 30,000.

DFO said Friday that it’s working with Nunavut wildlife officials, as well as hunters’ and trappers’ organizations and other stakeholders, to review current harvest levels and scientific data with an eye to creating a new, sustainable management plan and reconsidering the export ban next year.

“From a conservation and an international-obligation perspective, the science advice indicated that some of the narwhal populations were at risk and that the harvest levels were not sustainable,” said Sylvie Lapointe, DFO’s director of international fisheries management and the official in charge of CITES compliance.

She said that while the decision has “no impact on the domestic management of narwhals or domestic trade,” the partial ban means that potential foreign sales “won’t be a driver to increase harvest levels” in areas of the Arctic identified as having more vulnerable narwhal populations.

But Okalik Eegeesiak, president of the Qikiqtani Inuit Association, representing several affected communities at the north end of Baffin Island, said Friday she thinks “the government has to backtrack” on the decision.

Earlier this year, QIA won a court fight with the Canadian government to halt a proposed seismic survey in Lancaster Sound that Inuit group and environmentalists said was planned without proper public consultation or adequate concern about the environmental impact.

And earlier this month, Eegeesiak was in Ottawa to celebrate an announcement by Environment Minister John Baird that a planned Lancaster Sound marine park would proceed and that no further seismic surveys would be conducted.

“We’re surprised,” Eegeesiak said Friday about the decision on narwhal tusks, “that the government has made yet another decision without consulting Inuit about something that could have a huge impact on our communities.”

© Copyright (c) Postmedia News

Norwegian-financed UNESCO Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger

December 17, 2010
photo UNESCO’s Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger is intended to raise awareness about language endangerment and the need to safeguard the world’s linguistic diversity among policy-makers, speaker communities and the general public, and to be a tool to monitor the status of endangered languages and the trends in linguistic diversity at the global level.

The latest edition of the Atlas (2010, available in English, French and Spanish from UNESCO Publishing), was made possible thanks to the support of the Government of Norway, and lists about 2,500 languages (among which 230 languages extinct since 1950), approaching the generally-accepted estimate of some 3,000 endangered languages worldwide. For each language, the print Atlas provides its name, degree of endangerment (see below) and the country or countries where it is spoken.

The online edition provides additional information on numbers of speakers, relevant policies and projects, sources, ISO codes and geographic coordinates. This free Internet-based version of the Atlas for the first time permits wide accessibility and allows for interactivity and timely updating of information, based on feedback provided by users.

Degrees of endangerment

The present edition designates the degrees of endangerment a little differently than the previous editions. The new terminology is based on UNESCO’s Language Vitality and Endangerment framework that establishes six degrees of vitality/endangerment based on nine factors. Of these factors, the most salient is that of intergenerational transmission.

Degree of endangerment Intergenerational Language Transmission
safe language is spoken by all generations; intergenerational transmission is uninterrupted
>> not included in the Atlas
vulnerable vulnerable most children speak the language, but it may be restricted to certain domains (e.g., home)
definitely endangered definitely endangered children no longer learn the language as mother tongue in the home
severely endangered severely endangered language is spoken by grandparents and older generations; while the parent generation may understand it, they do not speak it to children or among themselves
critically endangered critically endangered the youngest speakers are grandparents and older, and they speak the language partially and infrequently
extinct extinct there are no speakers left
>> included in the Atlas if presumably extinct since the 1950s

The interactive online edition of the UNESCO Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger is complementary to the print edition and may be cited as:

Nunavut Inuit decry narwhal tusk export ban

December 17, 2010

December 15, 2010 CBC News
Original article here

Inuit leaders are accusing the federal government of banning whalers in most of Nunavut’s communities from exporting their narwhal tusks. Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., the territory’s Inuit land-claims organization, says the trade restrictions, which were imposed by the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans, violate Inuit harvesting rights.

In a release Wednesday, Nunavut Tunngavik president Cathy Towtongie called on Ottawa to reverse its decision. Her organization is considering legal options, she added. “DFO does not have the right to impose such restrictions on Inuit, particularly when the [narwhal] population is thriving and harvest numbers do not threaten the species,” Towtongie stated in the release. Nunavut Tunngavik says it was notified of the trade restrictions last week. The group said under the federal order, export permits will not be issued under the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) for narwhal tusks harvested from 17 of Nunavut’s 25 communities, including the territorial capital of Iqaluit.

Inuit whalers in Kugaaruk, Taloyoak, Gjoa Haven, Igloolik, and Pond Inlet are still permitted to export their harvested narwhal tusks.

“They’ve decided that there are different subpopulations, that some populations may be at risk,” Gabriel Nirlungayuk, Nunavut Tunngavik’s wildlife director, told CBC News.

“We don’t really know what that means. We would like DFO to explain themselves.”

Towtongie and Nirlungayuk said the department based its decision on “faulty scientific data” and no consultation with Inuit. Nunavut Tunngavik cited scientific surveys that peg the narwhal population at around 80,000 in Canada. Inuit harvest about 500 narwhal each year, the group adds. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans has not yet commented on the trade restrictions being alleged by the Inuit group.

Proposal for a Monument to Roald Amundsen at Microgaleria Sur, Canary Islands

December 13, 2010


Hornorkesteret’s Jonas Qvale made a proposal for a “National Monument to Roald Amundsen” in a contest earlier this year (he has a background in visual arts). A fund collected after Amundsens disappearence back in 1928 was now seeking proposals for a worthy monument to the world’s greatest polar hero. The entries were juried and later exhibited at the Fram Museum. Qvales proposal was not chosen, but he is still looking for financing and a place for this monument.

“Roald Amundsens Verden” (Roald Amundsen’s world) shows what could have been “Amundsens view of the world”, with an exaggerated emphasis on the polar regions, shrinking the continents except Antarctica to a narrow band around the planet’s waist. The continents would be polished Iddefjord granite with rougher surfaces on oceans. The ice caps would be inlaid and slightly raised in Rennebu ice green granite. Amundsens main expeditions would be carved and painted as red dotted lines crisscrossing the globe.

Rather than as a stone monument at Bygdøynes outside of Oslo, the work “Roald Amundsens Verden” is now being presented in styrofoam and papier maché as a miniature at the origami republika run MICROGALERIA SUR in San Fernando, Gran Canaria, Spain. Thanks to Tore H. Boe for running both the gallery and the republika, you are an inspiration to a lot of people!


The exhibition opened December 14th 2010, on the 99th anniversary of the conquest of the South Pole. At the modest but festive vernissage, the Norwegian emissiaries met with the directors and local MICROGALERIA SUR staff and officially unveiled the Amundsen monument proposal as well as additional rooms with fascinating miniature art by fellow Origami artists Origami Kanaria A195/A242, Jens Stegger Ledaal A178,  Origami Boe A22, and Magne Rudjord A286. See all of it here.

We are still seeking funding to realize the piece “Roald Amundsens Verden” in the anniversary year of 2011 -contact us at hornorkesteret@lavabit.com if you can help.