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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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 (thefurbearers.com).






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 are...

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

439: Selfies, Safety, and Search & Rescue

Sandra Riches, the BC Coordinator for AdventureSmart, joined Defender Radio to talk selfie safety, the basics of being prepared, and what has led to nearly 1,600 search and rescue operations taking place per year in British Columbia alone.

Duration: 00:50:39

438: Fish, Bears, and Conservation

West coast bears like their fish. I don’t think we really need science to tell us that. But which bears eat what, how much salmon they’re eating, where they’re getting it from, what influence that has on the ecosystems around them, even at great distances from the coast, and how that could all impact management across geopolitical lines - now that’s what science is good at. Megan Adams, PhD candidate at the University of Victoria, research scholar with the Hakai Institute, and biologist...

Duration: 00:33:42

437: 500 Marmots Later...

At one time, the Vancouver Island Marmot held a comfortable position as a unique rodent in high-altitude meadows on their namesake territory. And then humans came a long, and we all know how that goes. Vast changes to the ecosystems surrounding marmot’s home ranges resulted in a disastrous drop in their populations – down to below 30 marmots at one time. Thankfully, the Vancouver Island Marmot Recovery Foundation was formed, and just last week, released their 500th captive bred marmot...

Duration: 00:38:03

436: The Fight for BC's Wildlife

A quiet announcement made in March stirred the pot – and now it’s brewing up to a storm. In the last week, dozens of wildlife protection non-profits, research groups, and nature-related businesses have clamored for the province to respond to calls for changes to a plan to put the fate of British Columbia’s wildlife in the hands of a hunter-and trapper-funded agency. Despite pre-election pledges of millions annually to top-up the separate agency, and a now-former MLA’s claims that the...

Duration: 00:37:00

435: The WOLF Sanctuary

Wolves are one of the most majestic creatures on the planet. They’re intelligent, social, and thrilling to watch whether roaming their territory, hunting as a pack, or teaching pups the ins and outs of play. Some people love these animals so much that they want one in their home, and buy wolves bred in captivity, or wolf-dog hybrids. And according to the WOLF Sanctuary in Colorado, that’s when things can go wrong. More than 100 wolves or wolf-dog hybrids have found a home at the Sanctuary...

Duration: 00:42:07

Episode 434: Parks Canada's Wildlife Crossings Pt. 2

Wildlife corridors are becoming beautiful and iconic scientific feats that show our ability to co-exist with animals, when we put our minds to it. And the TransCanada Highway through Banff National Park is perhaps the best example of that. Twinning of the highway – or doubling its width – began in 1981, and with it, a bold plan to make it safer for animals to get across the busy highway. Currently more than 40 corridors of multiple design serve the animals, and the latest research is...

Duration: 00:45:44

Episode 433: Parks Canada's Wildlife Crossings Pt. 1

Wildlife corridors are becoming beautiful and iconic scientific feats that show our ability to co-exist with animals, when we put our minds to it. And the TransCanada Highway through Banff National Park is perhaps the best example of that. Twinning of the highway – or doubling its width – began in 1981, and with it, a bold plan to make it safer for animals to get across the busy highway. Currently more than 40 corridors of multiple design serve the animals, and the latest research is...

Duration: 00:33:25

Episode 432: Questioning Coyote Conversations

Conversations about coyotes can quickly get controversial, particularly in the media. Are they simply another creature trying to care for their families and live life peacefully, or are they menacing charlatans waiting to pluck away what we love most? If you’re listening to this show, chances are you agree with the former, which also happens to be based in fact. But if you read or watch news, or, worse, read social media comments, you’ll know that there’s an awful lot of people who believe...

Duration: 00:50:00

Episode 431: Bear Basics of Emergency Response

Let’s start with the obvious: stopping conflict with wildlife before it begins is always our preference. And there’s a lot of ways we can do that, as most conflict occurs when we’ve created a situation that allows for it, often through manipulation of resources. That is, we give food to animals and they say, hey, thanks, can I have some more? Or we knock down their houses and they show up, and say, hey, thanks for inviting us to stay over. The point is, not giving food to animals, not...

Duration: 00:45:16

Episode 430: The Long Weekend Rant Episode

Given that it’s a three-day weekend here in Canada, and people away, outdoors, and generally not in their offices. Next weekend it’s Memorial Day for our friends south of the 49th, which means they’ll be away, outdoors, and generally not in their offices. Rather than try to force an interview, or rush one that isn’t quite ready, we thought this would be a good time for host Michael Howie to sit, think, and record something more of a rant, and a little glibber, then you’re probably used to...

Duration: 00:16:54

Episode 429: Dr. Marc Bekoff and the Rise of the Compassionocene

When we hear the word “compassionate” paired with non-human animals, our first thoughts often go to Dr. Marc Bekoff. A highly-esteemed field biologist, animal behaviour researcher, author, and speaker, Marc has penned multiple books, essays, and papers on concepts of compassionate conservation, compassion choices, and the sentience of animals with whom we share the world. Marc, along with bio-ethicist and past collaborator Jessica Pierce, have released a new book, The Animals' Agenda:...

Duration: 01:04:34

Episode 428: Bif Naked, Wild and Free

Bif Naked is a Canadian rock star, author, cancer survivor, and social and animal advocate. Her music career, which spans more than 20 years and includes multiple hit singles and extensive tours, made her a household name – but her advocacy has made her an icon. From speaking out for fair treatment in the welfare system for British Columbians to advocating for a fur-free Canada filled with co-existence, Bif is always ready to stand for what’s right. Our interview was scheduled to talk...

Duration: 01:01:08

Episode 427: Advocacy in the Age of Trump

On January 10, 2017, Donald Trump became the 45th President of the United States of America. While I do have my personal feelings about the man that I cannot in good conscience share on this family-friendly podcast, it cannot be said that he is a friend of the animals. Immediately upon his winning of the 2016 election, animal advocates began scrambling – and within the first weeks of his presidency, their nightmares started coming true. Massive cuts to environmental and animal-related...

Duration: 00:57:42

Episode 426: Science for the Win (Defeating Depredation)

Thousands of protestors in cities across North America marched on the weekend, calling attention to the need for science in society and government. I absolutely loved seeing some of the signs that scientists, educators, and science enthusiasts came up with for their local marches. My personal favourite read: “First they came for the scientists, and the National Park Service said, 'LOL, no' and went rogue and we were all like 'I was not expecting the park rangers to lead the resistance....

Duration: 01:00:42

Episode 425: John E. Marriott and the Ice Grizzlies

Witnessing the northern lights dance across an open arctic sky, watching a grizzly mother teach her cubs to fish for the first time, and feeling the solitude of a cold morning in the far north may be something few of us will ever experience. But thanks to John Marriott, we’ll get closer than we ever have. John is an accomplished wildlife photographer, who also leads photography tours across Canada’s wilderness. But in recent years, he’s taken his growing popularity and success and become...

Duration: 00:59:50

Episode 424: The Easter Bunny Blues

Easter is around the corner, and for some reason, that means we’ll soon be surrounded by rabbits. Sadly, it isn’t just the stuffed toys or chocolate egg variety, but real, live, fluffy bunnies who are given as pets by well-meaning parents or loved ones. While bunnies can make wonderful pets, there’s a lot more to raising and giving them a home to them then you might think. The combination of impulse buying from pet shops and the amount of work necessary to keeping a rabbit healthy and...

Duration: 00:48:45

Episode 423: What to Expect When You're Expecting

It is remarkable how significant an impact people have on the wildlife around them, even if it isn’t always seen. Understanding our role, and what we should do to help animals we see, is also something we’re not too clear on. Fortunately, we do have some wonderful people in our communities who can help. Wildlife rehabilitators are ready for the influx of injured, orphaned or ill babies they’ll be seeing in the coming weeks – but a growing part of their work is to make sure their community...

Duration: 00:45:21

Episode 422: Spring Training

The sun is shining, the rain is washing away the last of the snow, and families are hitting the trails and sidewalks with their four-legged companions and that means it’s time for some spring training. Whether you share your home with a young puppy or a senior dog, getting out and reviewing the basics like sit, down, stay, and a good recall (coming when called) is a great idea, both for the safety of your pet, and for building your relationship. Of course, turning these exercises into fun...

Duration: 00:42:23

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