For the last couple of years we have been shooting a story with ornithologist George Divoky. You can see more about the project at our website www.ChangingOurClimate.net. He has been working on the same remote Arctic island for the last 40 years (www.CooperIsland.org) Starting out with the intention of studying the region’s sea birds, the research has grown into much more and has become an amazing window into climate change across the Arctic.
George monitors a population of black guillemots that have become his spies across the Arctic ocean.
In his latest studies George has been using geolocators that the birds carry on their daily foraging trips. He knew that the disappearance of sea ice was impacting the birds ability to feed, but this new information confirmed just how serious the situation really is. They are making trips of more than 1000 miles to feed. You can read more about this startling revelation on George’s blog
The most dramatic change has been the regular arrival of polar bears on the island. Each summer, as the sea ice now retreats further and faster, the bears have to flee to land and don’t have access to the regular food source of seals out on the pack ice. Its a tragic situation for polar bears that are now facing seemingly insurmountable problems across their whole range, but also not good news for George or the birds he studies. For several years the hungry bears completely wiped out the birds’ colony, killing just about every chick. This put the researcher in danger and meant the 40 year study may come to an abrupt end. Thankfully George came up with a unique solution and thanks to the folks at Nanuk, the colony has been saved and the study will continue.
George now has several hundred Nanuk camera cases placed across the island, each converted into a guillemot nest box. They provide an ideal site for birds to escape from marauding bears, and even if a full grown polar jumps up and down on the case, the birds remain safe inside.
Having tried just about every camera case on the market, and in some of the world’s harshest environments, I have to say Nanuk have come up with a winning formula of strength, while still staying low in weight, as well as having a great catch design. But as rough as my field tests can be, George has definitely come up with the ultimate, if a full grown polar bear can’t break one of these cases, its your best chance to protect your camera gear!
If you interested in purchasing a Nanuk case, visit our own Amazon store, they are top of the list.
For more about our adventures on Cooper Island, go to David blog entry at Adventure in Climate Change
Contributor- David Wright