Defender Radio and The Switch

The Switch is a new bi-weekly show on the Defender Radio Podcast feed, produced by The Fur-Bearers and hosted by Michael Howie. 

This show will feature short - about 10-minute-long - interviews with people who are making a difference in combatting climate change and protecting wildlife and their habitat through daily choices. These solutions are meant to be accessible, meaning available to most people living in Canada regardless of who they are and their socioeconomic situations. 

Upcoming episodes include subjects like:

  • Blowing Away Gas Leaf Blowers
  • Reducing by Refilling
  • Ecofriendly Menstruation Products
  • Hugelkultur for Biodiversity
  • Plastic Waste and PPE Choices
  • Animal Agriculture and Climate Change / Impact on Wildlife and Habitats
  • The Role of Libraries in Climate Change
  • DIY Ecofriendly Cleaning Products (from audience suggestions)
  • ...and more!

Subscribe to or follow the Defender Radio podcast feed wherever you listen to get updates as new episodes are available. Currently, the publication schedule is alternating The Switch and Defender Radio episodes, so a new episode should drop every Monday on the feed.

Want to suggest topics for the show? Reach out to us at, by visiting or engaging host Michael Howie on social media via Instagram (, TikTok ( or Facebook ( 

The Switch is produced by The Fur-Bearers (, a charitable non-partisan organization whose mandate is to advocate on behalf of fur-bearing animals in the wild and in confinement, promote coexistence solutions in communities and protect the habitats of fur-bearing animals across Canada. You can follow The Fur-Bearers on Instagram (, Twitter ( and Facebook ( 

Direct download: The_Switch_-_001_-_Episode_Zero.mp3
Category:The Switch -- posted at: 12:30am EDT

There are few mammals who are as outwardly tough and intimidating as Gulo gulo, the wolverine. These solitary individuals are considered a species of special concern federally and threatened in some jurisdictions like Ontario and are notoriously difficult to monitor or track for scientific purposes.

But modern technology is changing that. The combined use of digital photography and videography with unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, is creating opportunities to track and hone in on the specific areas that wolverines may be using as a home base. With that knowledge, researchers and managers are able to create land-use recommendations that protect the much needed space of wolverines, and ultimately help individuals, as well as the entire species, thrive.

A recent project undertaken by ecologist and wolverine researcher Nikki Heim with UAV professional Alex Taylor utilized this method in the spring of this year. A quick disclosure: The Fur-Bearers did provide partial funding for this project. You can read more at Nikki and Alex joined Defender Radio to explain how the convergence of their skills is offering new hope for protecting wolverines, the limits and importance of ethical use of UAVs, and what comes next in their project.

Learn more about Nikki and Alex's preliminary report:

Learn more about wolverine research:

Learn more about UAVs:

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Direct download: Defender_Radio_Podcast_817_Wolverines_and_UAVs.mp3
Category:Season 08 -- posted at: 11:57am EDT

More than two dozen incidents of coyotes scratching and biting people have occurred in Vancouver’s Stanley Park since December 2020. You’ve likely seen media coverage of this – and yes, much of it has been wildly sensational with a great deal of guess work.

But the truth is difficult to find in this series of events. Factually, we’re aware of many pieces of evidence: coyotes are a natural part of the landscape in Canada and British Columbia; Stanley Park is not just a park, but a massive forest and ecosystem; prior to 2020, only a handful of bites or interactions had occurred with coyotes; and, as everyone agrees, these behaviours are concerning.

In much of the media coverage, however, entire swatches of fact are left out, such as the massive shift in human use of the park following the start and progression of the coronavirus pandemic, or the apparent lack of enforcement of feeding bylaws and park use restrictions. This coverage also leaves out the nuance often necessary in a conversation about evidence and ecosystems, something that numerous advocates and experts have noted.

As such, this special report is an in-depth conversation with Dr. Kristen Walker, a professor at UBC who has worked on the ground in Stanley Park recently to collect evidence and begin forming an understanding of changes to coyote behaviour. Our interview was recorded approximately one week ago – and as static media, may not include the most recent information or news.

This week's episode art is a trail camera capture of a coyote in Stanley Park, provided by Dr. Kristen Walker.

To learn more about Dr. Kristen Walker's work, visit

The Fur-Bearers' Living With Wildlife pages:

Coyote Watch Canada:

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Want to learn more about how to listen to Defender Radio on your smart device? Check out the videos and links at

Direct download: Defender_Radio_Podcast_818_Stanley_Park_Coyotes_Kristen_Walker.mp3
Category:Season 08 -- posted at: 11:08am EDT

The name Takaya may ring a bell if you follow wildlife news. He was the lone wolf who lived on Discovery Island and other islands in the Salish Sea, an archipelago on the eastern coast of Vancouver Island. The word, Takaya, means wolf in the Indigenous language of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation.

Cheryl Alexander, a conservationist, photographer and educator, spent several years forming a distanced, but unique relationship with Takaya. Neither interfered with the other, but Cheryl was able to gain deep insight to Takaya’s life. Through this time, Cheryl witnessed a government set on killing Takaya; media villainzing him after an encounter with campers; his perseverance through dangers both human and environmental; and his tragic death at the hands of a hunter.

A 2019 documentary, Takaya: Lone Wolf, captured the hearts of many as his story, as told by Cheryl, beamed around the world. And in a 2020 book, Cheryl has loving assembled her photos, thoughts and anecdotes of Takaya, along with her own journey of discovery about wolves and the region, in a beautiful story that shows who he was.

Cheryl joined Defender Radio recently to discuss Takaya, the process of writing and assembling her book and how a chance encounter with a wolf while kayaking changed her life.

Learn more about Takaya at

See more of Cheryl Alexander's photography and work:

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Get your copy of Takaya (2020, Rocky Mountain Books):

How to pronounce Takaya:

More from Rocky Mountain Books:

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Direct download: Defender_Radio_Podast_816_Cheryl_Alexander_Takaya.mp3
Category:Season 08 -- posted at: 11:15am EDT