Something to Squawk About
Greater white-fronted geese defend their nest against a raiding arctic fox in a dramatic camera-trap photo from the tundra of Alaska's Prudhoe Bay oil fields. "These cameras allow us to paint a picture, sometimes quite graphic, of which predators are raiding nests and which aren't," said biologist Joe Liebezeit of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) program in Arctic Alaska. "We gain a more complete view of the predator/prey dynamic with the use of these cameras"
The geese won this battle, but Liebezeit and his colleagues found that foxes and other predators are thriving at Prudhoe Bay thanks to "subsidies" from energy infrastructure-and some ground-nesting birds are paying a price. "We're seeing that certain predators like arctic fox are more numerous in the oil fields and seem to be doing well where people are," Liebezeit said. "And they are impacting the ability of some nesting birds to produce young successfully."
This story is part of a special series that explores energy issues. For more, visit The Great Energy Challenge.
Pictures: Animal Winners, Losers in Arctic Oil Fields
Some predators thrive, while their ground-nesting prey pay the price, in the Arctic landscape that has been reshaped by Alaska's Prudhoe Bay oil development.