Category Archives: Animals

Ministry biologist talks about five threatened bird species on Cortes Island

[From the Archives: April 27, 2022]

When Cortes Currents asked the Friends of Cortes Island (FOCI) who to interview for more in depth coverage of ‘species at risk,’ they responded ‘Jenna Cragg’ from BC’s Ministry of Environment. That was last January, which shows how busy she is. Sabina Leader-Mense described Cragg as one of FOCI’s key ‘go to’ species at risk biologists, who provides the facts that FOCI brings into the community. 

In the emails we exchanged prior to this interview, Cragg specifically mentioned five species: the Marbled Murrelet, Great Blue Heron, Double Crested Cormorant, Pelagic Cormorant and Western Screech Owl.

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The accelerating pace of Species becoming ‘at Risk’

[From the Archives: Jan 6, 2022]

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently released a survey that showed the total number of marine species at risk within the Salish Sea doubled between 2002 and 2015. While the Discovery Islands are within the study area, the EPA study did not list specific locations. So Cortes Currents asked Max Thaysen, President of the Friends of Cortes Island, about the species of risk in our area.

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2016: Where Are Germany’s Bears, Wolves And Eagles?

[Written version from the Archives – October 2016; premiere of the radio version July 28, 2022.]

Editor’s note: The most popular story on Cortes Currents is ‘Where are Germany’s Bears, Wolves and Eagles?’ There have been more than 14,000 views. There were 126 last month. As the written version of this interview was published six years ago, I did a quick Google Search to see if the information is still relevant. The results: 


One of my wife’s fondest memories of Germany is the well maintained trails going through idyllic forests. She was visiting relatives during the late 1960’s and early 70’s. My impressions are both much later, and connected to the development of renewables. After returning home in 2015, I asked Andreas König, Head of Wildlife Biology and Wildlife Management at the Technical University of Munich, ‘Where are Germany’s bears, wolves and eagles?’

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2016: Cortes Streamkeepers in Basil & Hanson Creeks: What happened to the salmon?

(From the Archives: May 14, 2016.)

Six to eight hundred adult Chum Salmon used to come up Hansen’s Creek. Now there are 30 in a good year and as few as 3 in poor ones. Though we were talking about Cortes Island, this is a common phenomenon along the West Coast of British Columbia. What happened to the salmon?

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New hunting ban aims to preserve B.C.’s rare spirit bear

National Observer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Some First Nations on B.C.’s central coast are celebrating now that black bear hunting in their territories is closed to protect the exceptional cream-coloured spirit bears concentrated in those areas.

The spirit bear, also known as Kermode bears, are black bears that have a creamy white coat as a result of rare genetic mutation. 

Continue reading New hunting ban aims to preserve B.C.’s rare spirit bear