Defender Radio: The Podcast for Wildlife Advocates and Animal Lovers

Defender Radio: The Podcast for Wildlife Advocates and Animal Lovers

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).... Show More

Episodes

February 11, 2021

Getting governments to change isn’t easy; often, there are roadblocks in the path to communicating an issue, particularly ones related to non-human animals. There are tools out there, however, that are making it easier and more effective for Canadian parliamentarians to hear from constituents and learn more about issues related to animals in Canada.

Nathaniel Erskine-Smith, Liberal MP for Beaches-East York, sponsored House of Commo...

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As we press through these colder months of the winter, I’m seeing more questions about coyotes pop up on social media and traditional media. Of course, this is often in response to bad memes or misinformation designed to frighten people, rather than educate them. Check out TheFurBEarers.com for some the articles we’ve written to try and respond to these concerns.

But it’s also an opportunity to talk about aversion conditioning – co...

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January 21, 2021

The coronavirus pandemic has forced a lot of change in the world in the last 13 months. One of the most notable, unfortunately, is an increase in plastic waste entering our oceans. Personal Protective Equipment, or PPE, which is frequently made with plastics more than doubled in size as a global industry in response to the pandemic.

Oceans Asia, a non-profit focused on marine conservation, released a dire report indicating 1.56 bil...

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Luci Cudman, the executive director of the North Shore Black Bear Society and Ellie Lamb, bear behaviour expert and bear viewing guide and instructor joined me for a call the late days of fall 2020 to talk about how our actions – and inactions – impact the behaviour of bears, why some strategies to coexist aren’t as successful as others, and how we as individuals can truly make a difference for bears and other animals in our commun...

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I’ve got good news, better news and bad news, folks. The good news is that yesterday a book launched that will change minds, hearts and lives around the world. The better news is that Jo-Anne McArthur, co-editor of this book, took time out of an incredibly busy schedule this morning to chat with me about it. The bad news is that, because it’s 2020, the recording software I use didn’t record my side of our conversation. Which, for m...

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A lot of animals are tested upon and killed in the name of science, particularly biomedical research. In conversation, many people adopt a utilitarian attitude – the lives and deaths of these non-human animals is to benefit human health, an acceptable trade off.

But what if it wasn’t benefiting human health – and what if, before the experiments even began, there was a solid chance the research would never, ever have human applicati...

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Anthrozoology is a fascinating field of study – simply put, it examines the interactions between humans and other animals. This is a broad concept, which is why so many fields overlap with it: anthropology, biology, philosophy, psychology and more.

To me, the concept of combining these fields is daunting and intimidating; but thanks to many dedicated and passionate anthrozoologists, I’ve found the journals and discussions more appr...

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In a world with a 24-hour news cycle, robot trolls on the internet and unprecedented political changes, knowing where we stand on some core issues can be a bit… difficult. Fortunately, there are tools that can cut through the noise and help us find answers to understand where Canadians and Americans stand on animal-related matters.

Mario Canseco, president of Research Co., polled Canadians and Americans on their views regarding eat...

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It’s season eight! We’ve got a lot to catch up on – the pandemic, the outstanding contest, what’s going on with The Fur-Bearers and more – and we will catch up on all of that with a special episode soon. This week I want to dive right into our interview because of the timeliness and need for action on this issue.

Southern Mountain caribou in British Columbia are on the brink of collapse – and despite promises to create endangered s...

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August 20, 2020

Shark Week has come and gone for the year, but your chance to learn and celebrate sharks can go thanks to a new book that brings together academic study and the thrill of learning about the ocean’s great predators.

Shark Biology and Conservation: Essentials for Educators, Students and Enthusiasts is set to publish September 1, 2020 by John Hopkins Press. The title may be dry, but the authors, Drs. Daniel Abel and Dean Grubbs, bring...

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Wildlife corridors are a great idea: they connect habitats and ecosystems, allowing animals of all types to safely get across roads. As over 20,000 animals are killed, 570 motorists injured and $700,000 spent for clean up of animal-vehicle collisions in BC according to WildlifeCollisions.ca, corridors are also a wise investment.

They come in many shapes and sizes, but generally are under or above ground passages that allow for safe...

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Animal advocacy is a huge community. There’s folks like us at The Fur-Bearers, who focus on wildlife coexistence, habitat issues and a specific commercial issue; there’s groups like Coyote Watch Canada or North Shore Black Bear Society who focus on specific wildlife; then there’s groups who focus on farmed animals, domesticated animals, vegan principles, international policy, local policy and more. In short: it’s a huge community.

...

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July 30, 2020

British Columbia has ordered the killing of hundreds of wolves as part of their caribou recovery plan in recent years. You can hear more about this plan, the maternal penning and ongoing habitat destruction in episodes past. A 2019 study gave scientific support to killing wolves to protect the caribou – despite widespread opposition, it largely became government policy.

But this summer, a new paper was published that not only chall...

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Media outlets paint wildlife as the perpetrators of actions against people. But in their own recounting of events, they show how humans often started the conflicts. Former journalist and host of Defender Radio Michael Howie explores this issue and asks the questions that went unanswered by media outlets when humans and wildlife come into conflict.

This audio essay was first published at https://thefurbearers.com/blog/essay-media-b...

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Nearly five years ago to the day, then-Conservation Officer Bryce Casavant famously refused an order to unnecessarily kill two healthy bear cubs; he was suspended, effectively fired and eventually left government service entirely. But just a few weeks ago, justices in BC’s appellant court ruled that the province did not play by their own rules, meaning Bryce has been, in a word, vindicated. Today, Bryce shared the story of how doin...

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June 18, 2020

Black bears are common throughout much of Canada and, despite their gentleness and general lack of interest in people, end up the accused source of conflict with people regularly. Unfortunately, that also means that law enforcement agencies are the ones responding to, and frequently killing bears. These agencies can lack training, funding and/or third-party oversight of officer discretion in the field.

Bears pay for the mistakes ma...

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June 5, 2020

I have no words this week.

There is nothing I can say that will soften the hurt facing people in North America, and particularly Indigenous peoples and people of colour. This is not the time for my voice.

Now is the time for the voice of those who must be heard. This week, instead of Defender Radio, which will return next week with two new interviews, I hope you will join me in listening to podcasts created by Indigenous peoples an...

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How can you tell the difference between a wolf and a coyote? What’s a coywolf? Do they live alone or in packs? Are their packs like wolves, or different?

We asked for questions and we got ‘em! A few weeks back, I asked on social media what your questions would be for Lesley Sampson, Founder and Executive Director at Coyote Watch Canada. You answered. And then you kept on answering! Between Defender Radio and Coyote Watch Canada’s s...

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It’s been a while, hasn’t it? The last time I posted an episode it was February and a global health emergency was landing hard in Canada and the United States. Since then, we’ve learned a lot about the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 but a lot of questions remain. You’re probably not going to get answers to those questions on this podcast.

But what you’re going to hear is a solid summary of what we know about coronavirus and...

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Eighty-one per cent of BC’s southern mountain caribou local populations have lost more habitat than what’s needed for survival. That’s the lede from the Wilderness Committee news item announcing the release of the NGO’s report, State of Southern Mountain Caribou Habitat in BC: Exceeding Disturbance Limits.

The fate of the mountain caribou in this region has been spotlighted in part due to their status under the Species at Risk Act ...

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