BETHEL, Alaska — An international team of scientists is measuring the impact of climate change on arctic wildlife by tracking vulnerable plant and animal species like Alaska’s migratory geese.
The Arctic Council Working Group on Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna wrapped up its meeting on the topic last week in Bethel, KYUK-AM reported (http://bit.ly/2fdBUAk ). The organization, made up of representatives from six indigenous groups and eight arctic countries, is studying several species like the geese found in Alaska’s Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta.
Evgeny Syroechkovskiy, the chairman of the organization’s Arctic Management Bird Initiative, said the delta area has one of the highest concentrations of geese breeding, but the snow and emperor geese are declining in other countries. The Russian scientist is a part of the program that’s conducting a global survey of the endangered goose populations.
“The decline in geese in Siberia and the Far East is more than 80 percent,” Syroechkovskiy said. “There’s hardly anything left.”
The initiative will track where the geese fly during the winter, where the populations are suffering — and the reasons. Several of the species are becoming endangered due to overhunting, increased development and climate change, Syroechkovskiy said. Some species, like black brant geese, are shifting migratory patterns to fly farther north and away from the delta.
“We pretend to be rulers of the planet, so we need to be responsible not only for us, but all other species,” Syroechkovskiy said. “Otherwise Mother Nature will be unhappy with us, and we could get on the list of the species that are going to be taken away.”
Information from: KYUK-AM, http://www.kyuk.org