(A red fox eating a Lapland longspur nestling; Credit for all images: Wildlife Conservation Society)
Camera traps hidden in the Alaskan Arctic have captured tell-tale images of predatory animals raiding the nests of birds that migrate by the millions to the region each year. The guilty finger, however, points to us. According to the Wildlife Conservation Society, energy development activity in the region may benefit certain animal hunters to the detriment of other vulnerable species.
The WCS suspected as much, which is why the covert photographs were collected during the summers of 2010 and 2011 as part of ongoing studies to investigate the ecological footprint of oil exploration and other energy development activities. Conservationists wondered if such activites were affecting breeding birds that migrate to the region each year to nest during the brief arctic summers.
"Pictures are worth a thousand words and these photos speak volumes regarding the changing conditions that threaten migratory birds coming to the Arctic to breed," WCS North America Program Director Jodi Hilty was quoted as saying in a press release. "The photos are also a reminder of the value of undeveloped areas in the Arctic to birds from all over the world."