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Defender Radio: The Podcast for Wildlife Advocates and Animal Lovers

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Helping you to stay informed, and stay strong Defender Radio is the world's top wildlife protection podcast. It is hosted by award-winning journalist Michael Howie and presented by The Fur-Bearers (

Helping you to stay informed, and stay strong Defender Radio is the world's top wildlife protection podcast. It is hosted by award-winning journalist Michael Howie and presented by The Fur-Bearers (
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Hamilton, ON




Helping you to stay informed, and stay strong Defender Radio is the world's top wildlife protection podcast. It is hosted by award-winning journalist Michael Howie and presented by The Fur-Bearers (






BC's Black Bears Have a Human Problem

Bears are dying in British Columbia as spring turns to summer. I’d like to have a cute, chipper way of introducing this interview, but that’s the sad fact. Largely due to poor attractant management, bears wander into communities in search of easy meals, an inconsistent response from various residents results in their ongoing presence in the community, and, eventually, it often leads to conservation officers killing the bear for alleged habituation. It doesn’t need to be this way. Luci...


Celebrating Catios

Cats love to climb, jump, pounce, and play. Unfortunately, they often want to do this outside, where those skills help them kill wildlife and birds in large numbers and are exposed to innumerous risks to their well-being. It’s not fair to tell cats they can’t be who they are, and it isn’t exactly fair to let them be at risk of causing damage or being injured. There is, however, a middle ground: catios. The BC SPCA recently hosted a tour of catios in the Vancouver region with great...


Charlotte Dawe: Crossroads for Caribou Conservation in BC

Mountain caribou are endangered in British Columbia. It’s a big deal: the federal government has threatened to intervene if plans aren’t put in place to protect them. One plan, worked on heavily by First Nations leaders, is receiving praise. But the plan for at least one other region has huge holes and fails to address some key issues. While protecting caribou habitat may seem like a straight-forward task, the previous BC provincial government run in a majority by the Liberals and the...


Introducing The Young Defenders

The Fur-Bearers and Defender Radio are proud to announce the launch of a new project: The Young Defenders, a site and podcast to help youth Defend The Future Of Wildlife And The Environment Through Education, Communication and Kindness. Visit! Young Defenders Facebook: Young Defenders Twitter: Young Defenders Instagram: Defender Radio & Young...


PJ Smith of HSUS on: Fur, Fashion and The Future

PJ is the Director of Fashion Policy at the Humane Society of the United States and has played a major role in getting big brands like Armani to drop fur and institute fur-free policies. We had a wonderful conversation about fur, policy, the historic context of the current fight to #MakeFurHistory, and how his method has proven successful. We even got into self-care and what solutions exist for every advocate who wants to see an end to the use of fur in fashion. Find out more about PJ's...


The People Who Give A Dam: Protecting Beavers in Belleville

Defender Radio host Michael Howie spent four days in Belleville, Ontario, where a nearly year-long process to protect beavers after one was found in a trapped reached its conclusion. The interviews included in this episode were recorded in the field with local residents, political leaders, and the inventor of the Beaver Deceiver himself, Skip Lisle. To donate to The Fur-Bearers' beaver campaign go to: To Read more about The Fur-Bearers' involvement and...


100,000 Downloads Special Report

Host Michael Howie shares the news that Defender Radio has reached 100,000 downloads, and gets a surprise midway through recording! Support Defender Radio on Patreon: Sign up for The Fur-Bearers email updates: Follow Defender Radio on: Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.


Beyond Easter Bunnies with Ladybird Animal Sanctuary

It’s the Easter long weekend and you know what that means – bunnies, chicks and other little critters are being discussed, if not bought, as presents. But as many of you know, little animals aren’t just gifts, they’re sentient beings who are a lifetime commitment, require love, patience, veterinary care, and many other things. A while back I spoke with my friend Lisa Winn from the Ladybird Animal Sanctuary about the subject of bunnies – not just why they shouldn’t be bought and sold as...


A Discussion On Non-Human Animal Suicide

Have you ever looked over at your dog and cat and wondered, “Are they happy?” If you’re like me, you probably have. But have you ever asked deeper questions, like are they fulfilled, how do they view themselves in relation to the world, and do they consider life after death? I have, but I think it was 4 am on a Tuesday morning and I’d been up for 23 hours. But that’s what ethicists do, sometimes: they ask hard questions. And Dr. David Peña-Guzmán asked one that I have in all honesty never...


Canada’s Seals and Sea Lions: Under Siege East and West

The idea of a west coast seal and sea lion hunt or cull popped up earlier this year. It seemed a bit strange, but that perhaps there was some internal logic: killing seals and sea lions who eat fish could help the beleaguered transient and at risk Orca populations, ensure that fish stocks remain healthy enough for commercial use, and maybe exploit a new market for seal and sea lion -based products. But that’s not how science works. In fact, based on some research and the interview you’re...


Alberta Grizzlies Can Be Rehabilitated

The science is pretty straight forward when it comes to rehabilitating grizzly bears: it works, and they’re not more likely to come into conflict as a result of rehabilitation. But that hasn’t stopped the Alberta government from continuing to prevent qualified rehabilitators from taking in grizzly cubs – despite the fact that it’s an acceptable and frequent practice one province over in British Columbia, and various other places in Canada and around the world. Understanding this decision...


Killing Animals to 'Save' Animals

If you read enough headlines about the environment and wildlife, it won’t be long until you see one like ‘kill wolves to protect endangered caribou.’ In simple terms, the suggested actions by some government-funded researchers or those with a vested interest in killing animals makes sense: if we remove the predator or competition, the population of an animal targeted for conservation will increase. But that’s not how things work in the real world – particularly when policy writers and...


John E. Marriott is Exposing the Cruelty of Snares

John E. Marriott has taken some of the most breathtaking photos of wildlife that I have ever seen. He’s the keynote speaker at The Fur-Bearers gala event including the Clements Awards on March 30, and he’s been a regular on Defender Radio sharing stories about his adventures, ethical wildlife photography, and conservation. In his latest episode of the popular web series Exposed With John E. Marriott, John tackles snares – the cruel devices responsible for killing wolves, coyotes, and...


Boss' Snare Story

Boss’ story is similar to many others we’ve heard this trapping season, but he was one of the few lucky ones. While on a walk with his guardian near his home in British Columbia, Boss was lured to a baited snare and became entangled. Fortunately, he was able to get loose – but the event injured him and has shaken his family. Now they’re asking questions like why is trapping taking place on a trail that’s listed on tourism websites, and why there were no signs indicating that active, baited...


Remembering Titus

Not long ago, Kimberly Ross and her family lost their beloved companion Titus to a legally set snare. This episode features an emotional interview with Kimberly. If you are unable or choose not to listen, I understand – but I do ask that you click on the links in our blog or show notes, or head to to take action on banning these horrible, inhumane devices. Snares are legal across Canada, and as you will hear, can be set without warning and without setback from...


Defender Radio's 2019 Kickoff Video

One year ago today, I spoke about hope in a video like this. It's been a long year, with loss and pain, but I know together we can make change for ourselves, and the world. Listen to Defender Radio: Apple Podcasts: Stitcher: Spotify: Web:


The Bandit Who Gave Back Christmas

Reggie Raccoon is looking forward to a day of loot on December 25. Will his greed reign, or will the spirit of giving find its way into his heart? The Bandit Who Gave Back Christmas was written by Marisa King, who also co-directed, and played the parts of Narrator, Snickers, Stickles, and Sniggles. Marisa King is a local actor, director and animal advocate and can be heard on numerous podcasts including "The End of Time and Other Bothers", "Alba Salix: Royal Physician" and "The Axe and...


Know Your Rights While You Fight For Theirs

Protest and activism are a cornerstone of change, particularly in social issues. While our right to protest and speak are guaranteed by law in both Canada and the United States, some law enforcement agencies push back at those participating in protest or activism – at times beyond their rights. Understanding what your rights are is important for all advocates, but especially for those who hit the pavement as part of their advocacy. From knowing how to keep yourself and those around you safe...


Intolerable Cruelty: The Science Behind Snares and Strychnine

Before we get started, I want to put out a general advisory – in this episode we will be speaking in a matter-of-fact tone about the cruelty of snare traps and the poison strychnine. You will hear details about how these devices work and the devastation they cause in plain language and that may be upsetting to some listeners. Dr. Gilbert Proulx has seen a lot in his years as a field biologist. And he’s had enough. Dr. Proulx runs Alpha Wildlife Research and Management Limited, where he...


Capitalism and Conservation

The World Wildlife Fund issued their bi-annual Living Planet report in late October, and it painted a dark reality: humanity has wiped out 60% of animal life on the planet since the 1970s, and that we are marching toward ecological disaster due to our consumption of food and resources. The media had something of a field day with this – experts from WWF and other organizations spoke at length on the various aspects of the Living Planet report, often using broad terms such as humanity or...