Defender Radio and The Switch

The next regular episode of Defender Radio: The Podcast for Wildlife Advocates and Animal Lovers will be available January 8, 2018, featuring Animal Justice and their new podcast Paw and Order. In this short episode, Host Michael Howie explores the question of how to grow hope in the world after a difficult year, and his promises to the animals for 2018.

Direct download: 2017-12-30_DefenderRadioPodcast_Hope.mp3
Category:Season 05 -- posted at: 3:41pm EDT

This is the Defender Radio Family Christmas Special! Christmas In A Cozy Cave is a heart-warming Christmas tale of two very different animals who were the best of friends, as they try to give each other holiday gifts to show how much they appreciate each other. But in their efforts, they may jeopardize Christmas for one another!

An audio drama written by Michael Howie and Megan Howie. Adapted from O. Henry's Gift of the Magi.

Narrated by Barbara Howie

Chipmunk played by Tracy Garnett

Otter played by Kate Howie

Bear played by Michael Howie

Episode art by Shannon Darch

Full credits, thanks, and acknowledgements in bonus file "Defender Radio Family Christmas Special (Thanks and Acknowledgements)."

Direct download: 2017-12-17_DefenderRadioPodcast_FamilyChristmasSpecial.mp3
Category:Season 05 -- posted at: 4:52pm EDT

We just released the Defender Radio Family Christmas Special, and decided to do this brief episode separately to not interfere with your enjoyment of the special. I’m going to tell you a bit about why I made the special, and thank and acknowledge those who supported and helped out. If you haven’t listened to Christmas In a Cozy Cave, go do that first, and then come back to listen to this special feature.

Direct download: 2017-12-17_DefenderRadioFamilyChristmas-THANKS.mp3
Category:Season 05 -- posted at: 4:45pm EDT

John Marriott is a wonderful wildlife photographer. I’ve had the good fortune to chat with him in the past about his work, particularly on the subjects of ethics and advocacy. When I saw the news that he’d released a new book, I immediately tweeted him, asking for a review copy and an interview. Then I emailed him. I think I called him at 3 am once or twice, too.

Long story short, I loved the book, wrote a review of Tall Tales, Long Lenses: My Adventures in Photography, for The Fur-Bearers, and managed to tie down John for an interview between his numerous signings and speaking engagements in recent weeks. We discussed the process of developing this new book, what it was like to invite readers into his memories and life, and why one of Canada’s most popular wildlife photographers is also one of Canada’s most outspoken conservationists.

Direct download: 2017-12-11_Defender_Radio_Podcast_John_Marriottv2.mp3
Category:Season 05 -- posted at: 3:30pm EDT

In October I received a slew of emails about an injured bear cub in a community outside of Calgary, Alberta. Ordinarily, I’d just do a quick google search and provide the concerned animal lover with contact information for their closest wildlife rehabber. But that didn’t work in the case – because Alberta doesn’t allow for the rehabilitation of orphaned bear cubs.

Unlike neighboring British Columbia, and here in Ontario, Alberta has strict policies that will not allow several species of orphaned wildlife to be rehabbed – and they don’t really offer any studies or scientifically-based reasons as to why. As one can expect, this policy, particularly in the case of this injured bear cub, named Russell by area children, led to an outcry.

Local wildlife lovers have come together to push for change to the policy – both through a temporary permit for the local Cochrane Ecological Institute, which is set up and did rehab bears and bear cubs for decades, and for other cubs moving forward. The Fur-Bearers have proudly supported those initiatives. The informal group of advocates have also created a stir in area media on the issue, created a man-made den for Russell, and are on alert for changes in his health or behaviour. Lisa Dahlseide, a biologist and former rehabber at Cochrane Ecological Institute, connected with me to have an in-depth talk about the story of Russell, the lack of evidence behind the government’s no-rehab policy, the ins and outs of actions taken by the informal group, and what animal lovers from across Canada and around the world can do to help Russell, and other cubs in his situation.

Direct download: 2017-12-04_DefenderRadio-RussellBearCubAlberta.mp3
Category:Season 05 -- posted at: 1:36pm EDT