fbpx
Tag

Anchorage

Browsing

Biologist David Scheel with the day octopus he raised in his living room. Photo courtesy Passion Planet Ltd/Ernie Kovacs. David Scheel is a professor of marine biology at Alaska Pacific University, and he’s been studying octopuses for more than 25 years. Recently, he put an aquarium in his living room and raised a pet octopus that the family named Heidi. In 2019, PBS released the documentary Octopus: Making Contact, which chronicled the interactions in the Scheel household as the family observed and bonded with Heidi. As told to and edited by Alexander Deedy How did you first get interested in octopuses and why are they a fascinating creature for you? Well, I’ve always liked octopuses. What’s not to like, right? They’re kind of inherently interesting creatures. I have also spent time studying African lions, bats, rodents, killer whales, seals, seabirds, and crabs, among other animals. They’ve all been interesting. Over…

A lone bear stakes out his fishing territory beneath Brooks Falls in Katmai. Photo by Michelle Theall. Alaska’s eight designated national parks cover over 41 million acres. For scale, that’s twice the size of all of the Lower 48 national parks—from Death Valley to Big Bend—added together. National parks are considered the crown jewels of each state—important enough to be protected for all—and Alaska is no exception. It just, well, has a bigger crown. Alaska is romanticized and revered for its wildness, its vast and forbidding landscapes, and its almost mythic number of creatures. The diverse flora and fauna here exist among famous mountains, but also unnamed and unclimbed peaks and salmon-rich rivers and remote streams. There’s a reason these areas are protected: their wild beauty and wonder represent the best Alaska and, thus, our country, has to offer. Visiting all of the parks requires some logistical gymnastics—ideally broken down…

Denali State Park’s Kesugi Ridge with the Alaska Range in the distance. Photo by Bill Sherwonit. More than once, while perched on a high mountain ridge above Anchorage and surrounded by a wilderness landscape of peaks and valleys that extend to the horizon and beyond, friends and I have agreed: if this were anywhere else in the United States, we’d be standing in a national park. But here along the edges of Alaska’s largest city, we’re blessed to be part of a half-million-acre wildland that’s among the grandest pieces of an unparalleled state park system that this year marks its 50th anniversary. And what a system it is: established in 1970, Alaska’s Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation now encompasses more than 3.3 million acres, spread across nearly 160 units from the state’s Panhandle to its Southwest and Interior regions. Those units include recreation areas, historic sites, trails, and more;…

A bull moose rubs his antlers on weather instruments in Anchorage. Photo courtesy Dan Peterson, NOAA/NWS/WSFO Anchorage It’s uncommon to see wolverines in Anchorage, but one rogue wolverine ventured into the city where it could prey on chickens and chase stray cats. Biologist Dave Battle got a call one day that the wolverine had killed someone’s rabbits and stashed them under a low deck. Every time the homeowner approached the deck, the wolverine growled. To solve the dilemma, Battle first used a garden tool to pull the rabbits out from under the deck. Then, he and a fellow biologist turned on the hose and jetted water at the animal. The wolverine sprinted out from under the deck and never returned. “Not every day that you spray a wolverine out from under a deck with a garden hose,” Battle says. Battle, who has worked as the management biologist for the Anchorage…