Here are a few photo gems by Alex De Vries – Magnifico’s from this past northern lights season. Alex kept us busy here at churchillpolarbears.org with ample shots from the long aurora season in Churchill. Every Natural Habitat Adventures group was fortunate to view the most incredible northern lights displays in recent history. By any comparison this was completely successful winter season! Until next season enjoy these parting shots!
Churchill photographer Katie de Meulles was able to capture these haunting yet beautiful images of the iconic Ithaca shipwreck. The ship lays grounded on the rocky sea – bed 12 miles east of town in Bird Cove. When the ship grounded it was being operated by the Clarke Steamship Company to deliver nickel from Rankin Inlet. She was sailing on return north filled with supplies for the settlement when the ships rudder fractured in 80 mph winds. When the anchors failed she ran aground on September 14th, 1960 and never moved again. All 37 crew and passengers aboard were rescued. Because the Hudson Bay is shallow along coastal areas the waves are less likely to break old wrecks apart during storms.
These intriguing shots are unique with the northern lights glimmering above the rusting hulk.The beauty blends with the symbol of tragedy to stir mixed emotions in the viewer!
Summer wildflower season in Churchill is still over the horizon, one filled with snow and cold, but a preview of some of the beautiful plants that adorn the rocky tundra and explode throughout the spring and summer is a good way to warm your soul. Exploring Churchill’s Arctic summer brings new discoveries as you walk the tundra and explore all the hidden places of the undulating landscape. Enjoy!
A great shot of race organizer and musher Dave Daley from Wapusk Adventures in Churchill. This year’s race was another tremendous showing by all mushers and volunteers. Looking forward to next year with the finish in Churchill!
A retired RCMP, recently convicted and sentenced of illegally smuggling narwhal tusks into the United States from Canada, has been extradited to the U.S. on related money-laundering charges in Maine. A New Jersey man, Andrew Zarauskas has also was convicted in 2014 and is currently serving time in prison. Jay Conrad from Tennessee awaits trial.
Gregory Logan, 58, of Woodmans Point, N.B., is being held in custody pending his trial date of May 3 in U.S. District Court in Bangor, Maine
Charges include smuggling of 250 narwhal tusks with a value of over two million US dollars into the United States by concealing them in false compartments in his vehicle. Prosecution asserts that Logan had been transporting tusks across the border since 2000 when he was still employed by the RCMP. He allegedly brokered the tusks to private collectors and then transferred the funds outside the US.
Logan, whom was fined $385,000 and four months house arrest under an eight month conditional sentence, faces up to 20 years in prison and fines of up to $500,000 US with the money laundering charges in the states.
“As this case shows, wildlife trafficking can involve millions in illegal transactions, compounding the damage it does to the wealth and diversity of life on our planet,” Assistant Attorney General John Cruden, of the Justice Department’s environment and natural resource’s division, said in a statement. By pursuing the criminal financial transactions that flow from trafficking, we are making [it] a less attractive and more costly enterprise.”
Narwhals live year-round in the Arctic and are a protected species under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
Law prohibits importing narwhals, or any of their parts, into the United States, barring a special permit, under the Marine Mammal protection Act. Spiraled tusks, found predominately in males are actually a tooth protruding through the upper jaw, reach up to ten feet and can fetch nearly $100 an inch on the black market.
Co – conspirators Andrew Zarauskas, of Union, New Jersey,has already been convicted and sentenced to nearly three years in prison while Jay Conrad, of Lakeland, Tennessee, has plead guilty and awaits sentencing.
Evidence at trial showed Zarauskas, 61, doubled his money on the $85,000 he paid Logan between 2002 and 2008 for approximately 33 tusks. What was particularly egregious about Zarauskas’ case was that he was working as a confidential informer for the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service in a separate case that did not involve narwhal tusk smuggling.