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Canadian Geographic


The big thaw

2018-02-21 10:30:00


As Arctic permafrost thaws, it is changing the landscape of the far north, as seen in this photo depicting a retrogressive thaw slump on Qikiqtaruk-Herschel Island. But as new research is finding, that's not the only danger that could arise from thawing permafrost. (Photo: Sandra Angers-Blondin/Can Geo Photo Club)

A geological time bomb is ticking beneath the Arctic ice — one that could be triggered by rapidly rising temperatures. The North is heating up twice as fast as the rest of the globe and has reached a threshold of warming that is unmatched in modern times. As a result, permafrost, the frozen soil and rock that covers about 25 percent of the land in the northern hemisphere, and 40 to 50 per cent of the land area in Canada, is beginning to thaw.

How the Homeward Bound expedition program is empowering women in science

2018-02-21 09:15:00


Shelley Ball comes face-to-face with a curious chinstrap penguin on Deception Island, Antarctica during the inaugural Homeward Bound Women in Science Leadership Expedition, December 2016. (Photo: Dyan deNapoli)

As our ship quietly slipped through the narrow Gerlache Strait, I watched the glacier-covered mountains reflecting in the glassy surface of the water with a feeling of astonishment. It was December 2016 and here I was sailing down the Antarctic Peninsula on the inaugural Homeward Bound Women In Science Leadership Expedition. As a biologist and photographer, I had long hoped to visit Antarctica, but this journey was much more than a travel dream fulfilled. 

Q&A: Photographer Peter Mather on wolves, the wilderness and finding a purpose

2018-02-20 18:30:00


A wolf pup peers out from a den in the southwestern Yukon Territory. (Photo: Peter Mather)

Eighty days. That's how long wildlife photographer Peter Mather estimates he spent planning, researching and capturing the incredible photos of wild Yukon wolves and their pups that appear in Canadian Geographic's March/April issue, which hits newsstands next week. 

“Wolves are very difficult to photograph,” he tells me over the phone from a highway somewhere outside his hometown of Whitehorse, Yukon. “It takes a lot of luck, and a lot of research, and a lot of attempts.”

Featured Fellow: Meric Gertler

2018-02-16 15:15:00


Meric Gertler has been president of the University of Toronto since 2013. (Photo: Lisa Sakulensky/University of Toronto)

University of Toronto president Meric Gertler is a world leader in urban theory, focusing on the geography of innovation, creativity and culture in city centres as economic drivers. Besides authoring, editing and co-editing several influential books and dozens of academic publications, he has been an advisor to North American and European governments, to the Euro­pean Union and the Orga­nisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, in Paris. Here, he discusses leveraging U of T’s urban location and reimagining education in that light.

A bear in the henhouse

2018-02-15 14:45:00


A polar bear, its paws covered in eider egg yolk, on Mitivik Island, Nunavut. Mitivik is home to Canada's largest eider colony, but climate change has introduced a powerful threat: hungry polar bears. (Photo: Evan Richardson)

Polar bears are more yellow than white. That’s the somewhat peripheral thought that pops into my head as a bear suddenly crests a ridge 50 metres from where I’m sitting. I had been enjoying a game of chess and a cup of tea but now my heart is racing. At the moment, it doesn’t seem very important where I move my pawn.

Infographic: How the three-wheeled ‘Explore’ is helping more people enjoy the backcountry

2018-02-15 10:15:00


Icon Wheelchairs founder Christian Bagg has tested many versions of his powerful Explore model on The Great Trail’s West Bragg Creek routes, in Alberta.

All of a sudden one day in 1996, Christian Bagg could no longer snowboard, mountain bike or hike the backcountry he loved so much.

A snowboarding accident broke the young Albertan’s back, but he was soon using skills acquired as an apprentice machinist at the University of Calgary to build a wheelchair that actually fit his 6'5" frame. He started designing better equipment for medical tech companies, and by 2010, had founded Icon Wheelchairs with 13-time Paralympic medallist Jeff Adams. 

Inside the Toronto Zoo's bison breakthrough

2018-02-14 14:45:00


Wood bison at the Toronto Zoo. (Photo: Hannah James/Canadian Geographic)

Gabriela Mastromonaco has seen many babies born at the Toronto Zoo, but when her zoo colleagues called her on July 11, 2017 to say that a new wood bison calf had arrived, she felt a mixture of excitement and disbelief.

The event marked the first time a Canadian zoo had successfully produced a wood bison calf from an embryo sent from another province and transferred into a surrogate dam.

Why won't wolverines cross the road?

2018-02-14 10:00:00


Wolverines require large areas of intact forest habitat for hunting, scavenging and raising young and, according to new research, will actively avoid even lightly-used roads. (Photo: Andrew Manske)

The sight of a road can strike fear into the heart of one of Canada's toughest predators, according to new research on wolverines in Alberta.

Wolverine biologist Matt Scrafford spent three winters capturing a number of these wily predators in northern Alberta. The wolverines were then fitted with GPS collars and tracked across an area of the province crisscrossed with logging and oil and gas service roads.

Canada must step up action to conserve polar bears: report

2018-02-13 20:00:00


While global polar bear numbers are currently stable, polar bear range states such as Canada must monitor and talk openly about the biggest threats to their long-term survival, according to a WWF report. (Photo: Nate Small/Can Geo Photo Club)

Canada is showing leadership on polar bear conservation, but must work quickly to identify critical polar bear habitat and develop its capacity to respond to ecological disasters in the Arctic Ocean, according to a new report by the World Wildlife Fund.

Q&A: Meet Ontario's first Chief Scientist

2018-02-12 14:15:00


Dr. Molly Shoichet (middle) is a professor at the University of Toronto, as well as an expert in regenerative medicine. (Photo: University of Toronto)

Dr. Molly Shoichet is an expert in regenerative medicine, holds the Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Tissue Engineering, teaches at the University of Toronto and is now Ontario’s first Chief Scientist. Appointed in November 2017, Dr. Shoichet is tasked with helping to better inform government decision-making, restore the public’s trust in government science and work to promote Ontario’s innovation economy, among other mandates. It’s a tall order, but here, the Toronto native discusses her vision for the future of science in Ontario.