Earth Beat, 2 September 2011. From surviving a grizzly attack and training bears to stay away from us, to using bees to measure air quality, what animals can teach us, and who gets out alive.
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Pat Shipman is the author of The Animal Connection. She explains that it is our associations with animals that allowed us to evolve as humans. Hence domestication; the start of an uneasy pact between man and animal.
Blackbirds change their tune
An illustration of how humans and animals are still causing each other to evolve. As human noise intrudes on nature some species have had to work harder to be heard above the din. The blackbird has taken to adding particular urban sounds to their already florid repertoire with some surprising results. Hans Slabbekoorn is a professor of behavioural biology and spills the beans on the champion songster.
There are an estimated 10,000 feral parakeets in the Netherlands. They’ve adapted to city life with ease but not all city-dwellers are happy about these tropical invaders. Earth Beat producer Chris Chambers is one of them and explains why being woken up at five in morning by the bird equivalent of a relentless car alarm is making him do some uncharacteristic things.
Attacked by a bear
Earth Beat producer Anik See speaks with mountain enthusiast Colin Croston, who encountered a grizzly bear and her cub on the way back from a climbing trip. It’s a tale of surprise, shock and survival.
Managing bear jams
Canada’s Banff National Park gets over 500,000 visitors a month during the summer and when a bear decides to look for food close to the roadside, they can quite often cause what’s called a bear jam. As in: a traffic jam caused by passersby and tourists wanting to get a closer look at a bear. Earth Beat producer Anik See happened to be in Banff on her summer vacation, and agreed to go on duty with a group of park employees whose summer job it is to find the bear jams, and make sure nothing bad happens at them (photos below). Read more about bear jams at Anik's blog - Forgotten Spaces.
Project Grizzly - Troy Hurtubise is a man who has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars and most of his adult life developing a series of bear-proof suits after surviving a grizzly attack.
A bee story
Bees are being used at Frankfurt Airport in Germany to test the air quality. They seem to be very happy sharing space with jumbo jets. Reporter Susan Stone gets a close–up (photos below).
We return to Pat Shipman for her thoughts about whether we should declare an animal apartheid, and distance ourselves from other species as much as possible.