Wildlife news from North and South America

In 2006 a hunter shot what he thought was a polar bear on Banks Island, off the coast of the Northwest Territories.

The fur was creamy white, which is typical in polar bears, but it had a hump on its back and brown patches around the eyes and nose and all those traits are typical of grizzly bears.

If the bear was judged to be a grizzly bear the hunter would have had to pay a $1,000 fine since it was illegal to hunt grizzlies there. A DNA test showed it to be a hybrid with a grizzly bear mother and polar bear father.

Between 2012 and 2014 another six hybrids were either killed by hunters or captured by biologists. It is not known why grizzlies are now being seen further north, but finding food may be the reason as theyve been seen hunting seals as polar bears do.

Regardless of the reason, it is believed that this range expansion into polar bear areas explains the two species meeting up and hybridizing.

Turkey jakes do not contribute to breeding A recent summary by turkey expert Dr. MichaelChamberlain shows that turkey jakes (young male turkeys) do not successfully breed hens. Hunters see jakes displaying for hens, but to assume they then breed hens is wrong.

Chamberlain notes several reasons for this. One major reason is that the testes of jakes are extremely small and poorly developed to the point that they rarely produce enough sperm for successful breeding. In addition mature toms assert their dominance over jakes. As Chamberlain notes, the take home is, jakes will put on a show and make you think theyre one of the haves when it comes to breeding with hens, but the research says otherwise.

Giant snake discovered

in the amazon Scientists from Australia were assisting National Geographics new travel Series, Pole to Pole with Will Smith, when they found a new species of snake.

The indigenous Waorani hunters took the scientists to the jungle to show them this snake species, believed now to be the heaviest and maybe the longest snake in the world. The Waorani knew of this species and consider it to be sacred. They found several on a ten-day expedition. The scientists named this new find the green anaconda. One female they found was 20.6 feet long. And the Waorani natives have encountered green anacondas even longer, measuring 24.6 feet long and weighing 1100 pounds.

As you read this, picture a 25 foot snake laying in your house. Yikes. Hard to imagine isnt it? Yep, I see another Anaconda movie in the making.

Alaska testing doglike robots to scare wildlife off airport runways

The airport in Fairbanks Alaska has a problem with migrating waterfowl on the runways. Of course one large goose can cause a large passenger plane to crash.

So, they got a $70,000 grant from the government and bought a robot from Boston Dynamics. The robot has removable panels that allows it to resemble a coyote or a fox. Now they are sending this robot out every hour to chase waterfowl and any other critters that are on the runway. Theyll find out which robot works the best, or if any work at all.

If they work, then Alaska is going to get robots for several more rural airports. The robots are expensive, but can be used for years. Comparing that expense to other techniques that involve manpower before planes take off or land makes the robots a good choice.

So much for the idea that robots could only be used to clean the floor or the swimming pool.

DR. SAMUEL is a retired wildlife professor from West Virginia University. His outdoor columns have appeared, and continue to appear, in Bowhunter magazine and the Whitetail Journal. If you have questions or comments on wildlife and conservation issues, email him at