June 28, 2019
Fat bears, swift foxes, Elon Muskox, and reindeer yoga. This week's newsletter has all the gossip on Arctic animals (real and mythological).
Blanket toss in Inuvik for Indigenous Peoples Day. Photo by Natural Resources.


The July/August issue is here with some of the weirdest research projects (whale snot, polar bear costumes, KFC) happening across the North. Plus, Nunavut beer, golf-course ravens, NWT’s lack of palaeontology protections, and your need-to-know guide for the territories' summer festival season. Find it on newsstands now, or subscribe down below.

Elsewhere this week, Up Here’s own Beth Brown was awarded the Dumont-Frenette Outstanding Journalism award from the Quebec Community Newspaper Association for her past work with Nunatsiaq News. It was one of
five awards Beth walked away with. Congrats! Proud to have you as part of our team, Beth.

As always, thanks for reading.
Jacob Boon

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As you might have guessed by our science issue up there, summer is research season in the North. Academics arriving in the warmer months have, traditionally, ignored traditional Indigenous knowledge in pursuit of their own hypotheses. But more and more settler scientists are immersing themselves in these remote communities to learn, and share. “The Dene call this mode of thinking ‘łeghágots’enetę,’” writes Jimmy Thomson for The Narwhal, “translated to ‘learning together.’”

Too bad many of those scientists are leaving Canada. Inadequate government funding for climate research is causing a severe brain-drain,
says CBC. Seventy-seven per cent of 100 climate scientists surveyed say they regularly lose personnel due to poor science funding from the feds. “The lack of resources threatens the ability of scientists to carry out field research in the Arctic and to fund collaborative projects necessary to understand climate change.”

Projects like satellite tracking ice breakup in the Nares Strait between Greenland and Ellesmere Island, which this year happened
months ahead of schedule, threatening some of the Arctic’s oldest sea ice. Other recent research concludes Greenland will be ice-free by the year 3000, causing sea levels around the world to rise 23 feet. And if all that weren't enough, climate change is also causing mass deaths in sled dogs.

No wonder we’re experiencing “
ecological grief.”

Loading up some Northern freight. Photo by Jason Pineau.
An ongoing pilot shortage is just the tip of the iceberg facing the Northern aviation industry, reports Jimmy Thomson for Up Here Business. Mergers, business closures, new routes, high fuel costs, and fragile markets: “We know this much: it's hard to make a buck in the air. Is there anything we can be doing—should be doing—to make a necessary industry more sustainable?” (Up Here)

Dylan Cozens’ dream has come true. The 18-year-old from Whitehorse was selected seventh by the Buffalo Sabres at last week’s NHL draft. “Buffalo got 35,000 new fans,” reports Buffalo News. Whitehorse Mayor Dan Curtis even switched over from being a lifelong Canucks fan. (CBC)

It was only 60 years ago that the government forcibly created Whale Cove by relocating previously nomadic Inuit communities to a new coastal town. Some of the hamlet’s first inhabitants are still alive, and shared their stories with The Walrus for “An Oral History of Whale Cove.” Writers Suzie Napayok-Short and Cody Punter transcribe an important part of Nunavut’s past, and also embed some incredible audio from those interviews. (The Walrus)

Yukon’s Indigenous broadcaster has rebranded. CHON-FM's new logo features a wolf and crow in an outline of the territory on a drum, designed by Kaska First Nation artist Bobby Quash. The new “sound logo” theme song was produced by musician Matthew Lien, and inspired by a recording of The Green Song by Southern Tutchone elder Polley Fraser. (CBC)

Elon Muskox has returned to Yellowknife’s City Hall. The 11-foot horticultural sculpture debuted last November but was removed in the spring for a summer makeover. Its coat now sports a colourful assortment of red, white, and purple flowers. The faux muskox began life as a MosaïCanada attraction in Quebec before being gifted to Yellowknife. It was named “Elon Muskox” in a contest won by a Florida man who, “thought it would be fun to contribute.” (Cabin Radio)
Elon Muskox in Yellowknife's Somba K'e Park. Photo by Sarah Pruys/Cabin Radio

Pro wrestling is set to debut in Inuvik. Comedian, filmmaker, and town councillor Dez Loreen, along with partner Wade Blue Gruben, are recruiting talent to launch Totally Arctic Wrestling in the Beaufort Delta. “Wade and I just wanted to wrestle, we just wanted to do this on our own and if there's an audience great but you know we're going to do it regardless.” (CBC)

“It’s made a difference,” says a Whitehorse RV park owner about the local Walmart’s parking lot ban on campers. This is the first season without access to what was previously one of the Yukon’s most popular and peculiar camping spots. Rhiannon Russell wrote an obituary back in our January issue. (CBC)

The 775-kilometre Yukon River Quest, the world’s longest annual paddling race, is once again underway. A record 117 vessels took to the water in Whitehorse this week. They’ll have until 9 p.m. on Saturday to reach Dawson City. You can track all the colourful competitors in real-time right here. (CBC)

Yeti: Terror Of The Yukon” is a new attraction at Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights. Now, even if you believe there are some undiscovered Yetis out there, the Himalayan cryptid certainly wouldn’t be found 9,000 kilometres away in the Yukon. Snowy climates are presumably interchangeable to Floridian theme-park guests. If you’d like to read about an actual legendary Northern hominid, check out the Nuk-Luk, which reportedly inhabits the Nahanni Butte. (Attractions Magazine)

Just in time for Canada Day, Trans Canada Brewing has released a new ale with ingredients from every province and territory. Confederation Ale No. 152 includes yeast from Ontario, honey from Prince Edward Island, and, uh, “water” from all three territories. Thanks for trying, Trans Canada? (Canadian Beer News)
Midnight on Signpost Hill in Keno City, Yukon. Photo by Jodie Ponto.


The Katmai National Park bear cams are back online. Enjoy 24/7 live footage of hungry brown bears in Alaska chowing down on tasty salmon. This all leads up to the fifth annual Fat Bear Week contest later this summer. (Anchorage Daily News)

Ultra-marathons are all the rage in the North. Just ask this Arctic fox, who scientists tracked over 4,415 kilometres of sea ice and glaciers during a 76-day sojourn. The female fox averaged 46.3 kilometres a day on its journey from Svalbard to Ellesmere Island. “The maximum movement rate was 155 kilometres a day.” (New Scientist)

That little fox's adventure has nothing on these two female beluga whales, who were recently flown via 747 from Shanghai, China to the Sea Life Trust Beluga Whale Sanctuary in Iceland. The trip required special training, increased blubber levels, and a lot of in-flight herring snacks. (NPR)

Move over, goat yoga. Alaskans now have reindeer yoga. Owner Jane Atkinson tells NPR the animals are particularly well-suited to the exercises. “They're twisty creatures—especially in the springtime when their antlers are growing and itchy, and they scratch them with their back hooves. ‘So you'll see the reindeer getting into these amazing poses,’ she says.” (NPR)

It's a holiday weekend, so screw it, we're going all-in on Arctic animal news. “Why The Polar Bear Is An Indisputable Image Of Climate Change.” (The New Yorker)
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