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Defender Radio: The Podcast for Wildlife Advocates and Animal Lovers-logo

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 (






Christmas In A Cozy Cave: The Defender Radio Family Christmas Special

This is the Defender Radio Family Christmas Special! Christmas In A Cozy Cave is a heart-warming Christmas tale of two very different animals who were the best of friends, as they try to give each other holiday gifts to show how much they appreciate each other. But in their efforts, they may jeopardize Christmas for one another! An audio drama written by Michael Howie and Megan Howie. Adapted from O. Henry's Gift of the Magi. Narrated by Barbara Howie Chipmunk played by Tracy...

Duration: 00:17:11

Defender Radio Family Christmas Special (Thanks and acknowledgements)

We just released the Defender Radio Family Christmas Special, and decided to do this brief episode separately to not interfere with your enjoyment of the special. I’m going to tell you a bit about why I made the special, and thank and acknowledge those who supported and helped out. If you haven’t listened to Christmas In a Cozy Cave, go do that first, and then come back to listen to this special feature.

Duration: 00:04:44

John E. Marriott talks Tall Tales, Long Lenses (505)

John Marriott is a wonderful wildlife photographer. I’ve had the good fortune to chat with him in the past about his work, particularly on the subjects of ethics and advocacy. When I saw the news that he’d released a new book, I immediately tweeted him, asking for a review copy and an interview. Then I emailed him. I think I called him at 3 am once or twice, too. Long story short, I loved the book, wrote a review of Tall Tales, Long Lenses: My Adventures in Photography, for The Fur-Bearers,...

Duration: 00:26:20

Advocating For Russell The Orphaned Black Bear Cub of Bragg Creek, Alberta (504)

In October I received a slew of emails about an injured bear cub in a community outside of Calgary, Alberta. Ordinarily, I’d just do a quick google search and provide the concerned animal lover with contact information for their closest wildlife rehabber. But that didn’t work in the case – because Alberta doesn’t allow for the rehabilitation of orphaned bear cubs. Unlike neighboring British Columbia, and here in Ontario, Alberta has strict policies that will not allow several species of...

Duration: 00:36:38

Canadian Researchers Used 4 Million Animals In The Name Of Science (503)

More than four million animals were used in research in Canada in 2016, a 21% increase from the previous year. Included in this increase were the use of cats, up 68%, dogs, up 58%, nonhuman primates, up 53%, and pigs, up 70%. It isn’t just that so many animals are used though. It’s that so many animals are used for research purposes that aren’t necessarily effective, when more effective and humane options exist. Dr. Elisabeth Ormandy, Executive Director of the Animal in Science Policy...

Duration: 00:49:29

Inside The Absurdly Intellectual, Accurately Anthropomorphised World of Joshua Barkman's False Knees (502)

Joshua Barkman, creator of the False Knees web comic, takes every day circumstances for the animals we see around us in urban areas, like raccoons, rabbits, and various species of birds, and applies absurdly humourous conversations or thoughts. Joshua gives great detail to his drawings, creating a wonderful juxtaposition between beautiful artwork and absurd humour. But he also gives life, emotion, character, and introspection to animals often seen, but seldom considered in our daily...

Duration: 00:32:10

501: Communities Can Co-Exist With Coyotes

Here we are – season five! I can’t think of a better way to kick off this momentous run than with coyote expert, and my good friend, Lesley Sampson of Coyote Watch Canada. Lesley and I spent some time recording in a forest in the Niagara Falls region last week, talking about building community buy-in to co-existence programs, the ups and downs of developing a plan, and why living with coyotes isn’t just possible, but preferable. That’s not all I have to share with you though – I have a...

Duration: 00:44:42

452: Elizabeth May Says We Have The Power To Go Green

Going green is a good idea.There aren't many people who don't want to see a more sustainable world that lessens our impact on the planet, habitats, ecosystems, and individual animals, regardless of political affiliations. But how to get there – and what will or won’t work – remains controversial. Curbing greenhouse gas emissions elicits a highly politicized conversation, with sides across the political spectrum using misinformation and disinformation to push for their own plans – and...

Duration: 00:35:23

451: Getting Warm With Wully

This story started with necessity too – Canadian Football player James Yurichuk was moving his family from tepid Vancouver to brisk Toronto, and wanted to buy his wife a nice winter coat to help with the transition. But there was a problem: they were all filled with goose down and lined with coyote fur. From that simple necessity grew conversations with childhood friend Anthony DeBartolo, ideas and sketches, and a vision for an ethical, compassionate company. Fast forward a few years, and...

Duration: 00:30:06

450: Stop Poisoning The Wolves

Poisons that cause extreme suffering and death are being used to cruelly kill wolves. But there’s an opportunity to get at least one of them out of our country. Strychnine, Compound 1080, and M-44 cyanide devices are all used in Alberta to kill wolves – and anything else that comes into contact with them. Some of these poisons are also used in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Several permits that allow the use of Strychnine in Alberta are set to expire in December 2017, creating a unique...

Duration: 00:37:46

449: Inside The Grizzly Poll

. It was a day of mixed emotions when we heard that the new NDP-led government in British Columbia would ban trophy hunting of grizzly bears – but still allow them to be killed for the quote meat. This pack out provision led to a big debate in the media, in comments, and on chatrooms across the province and country. It stood to reason that a good way to find out what people really thought about the hunting of grizzly bears was to ask them. Enter Insights West. Funded by LUSH Cosmetics...

Duration: 00:47:58

448: Beating Back Burnout

Between our battles to protect animals, and the seemingly endless stream of terror attacks, natural disasters, and headlines involving Donald Trump, feeling tired isn’t surprising. But it’s important to understand the difference between being a bit tired, and burning out. With all that’s going on in the world, we thought it was time to talk about mental health with someone who has knowledge of the world of advocacy, as well as the training and expertise to talk about burnout. That’s why...

Duration: 00:43:37

447: IFAW to the Rescue

Extreme weather events have wreaked havoc across the southern United States, Mexico, and the Caribbean. In the U.S. Virgin Islands, hurricanes have torn apart communities, destroyed infrastructure, and created crises of significant scope for people who call the islands home. But it isn’t only the people who are suffering. Community animals like cats, dogs, domestic livestock, and working animals who depend on humans can suffer greatly through these incidents, despite the best efforts of...

Duration: 01:15:09

446: A Legal Fight For Freedom

A visit to the aquarium or zoo could be magical as a child. Heck, for a lot of adults, it can still be magical. Seeing species from all over the world up close is remarkable. Of course, once we realize that they’re confined in unnatural circumstances, displaying neurotic and self-damaging behaviours, and that their incarceration rarely, if ever, plays a role in true conservation of their species in the wild, the magic fades. Though many documentaries, non-profits, and passionate advocates...

Duration: 00:22:59

Turtle Power

Defender Radio visited the Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre, we learned that there are eight native species of turtle in Ontario – and several of them are at-risk. We also learned that there’s a whole lot of dedicated people working exceptionally hard to help turtles. Dr. Sue Carstairs, Executive and Medical Director at the Centre and the Kwartha Turtle Trauma Centre shared her vast knowledge, experience and a tour with the show. Turtle rehabilitation, surgery, their importance to our...

Duration: 00:57:21

444: Bark To School

Kids are groaning, parents are cheering, and teachers are refilling hip flasks and chocolate drawers: it’s back to school week. While many families will be getting up earlier, shovelling breakfasts down, making lunches, and filling up dry erase boards with extracurriculars, appointments, and school events, there’s one member of our families who may be having a hard time – and they’re on four legs. Family companions, especially dogs, can struggle with sudden changes to routine or...

Duration: 00:53:34

443: Good Coyote, Bad Rap

Bad Coyote, the 2013 documentary that purports to explore the state of Atlantic Canadians during a cull of coyotes after the tragic death of folksinger Taylor Mitchell in October 2009, is available to view online. The documentary was released online as part of the National Film Board’s National Canadian Film Day this year. In the last week, several listeners, supporters of The Fur-Bearers, and friends, contacted the show and The Fur-Bearers to let us know that it was available for online...

Duration: 00:52:21

Ep. 442: Shoot To Thrill

Shooting a bear is remarkably easy. You need someone to help you find them, the equipment and knowledge of that equipment to be able to line up the shot, a bit of patience, and then you either push a button – or pull a trigger. Trish Boyum and her husband Eric own Ocean Adventures, a successful ecotourism business on the coast, and are also advocates for the protection of grizzlies and other wildlife. Trish joined Defender Radio to share her reaction to the announcement on trophy hunting,...

Duration: 00:47:54

441: Leaving History In The Past

In my experience, when this hunt is discussed, us urban folk from away are dismissed for not understanding what it means to be a Newfoundlander. That’s fair – I don’t know what it’s like to be a part of that culture, which is very rich and distinct. But it’s not just me in Hamilton, or my colleagues in Vancouver, or even a sizable amount of the general population around the world who think the seal hunt is cruel and economically unviable – it’s the very people who call the Rock home that...

Duration: 00:30:12

440: The Last Stand of the Acadian Forest

The scene looks like one painted with the words of Tolkien: moss covered rocks, a babbling brook, various low shrubs, and monstrous trees fill the landscape. The photo I’m describing is this week’s episode art, and was taken by the guest you’ll hear from today. It’s truly beautiful, and exactly what I imagined when we started talking about the Acadian forests of Nova Scotia. It’s also gone. Full of biodiversity, hundreds of years old, and filling an ecological role that’s difficult to...

Duration: 00:37:57

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