Tag Archive: Sockeye Salmon

The Evolution Of The Kodiak Bear

All bears are impressive; the largest of them all the Kodiak Bear, especially so.

Click on image for full-size view.

kodiak bear

Kodiak Bear

The Kodiak Bear (Ursus arctos middendorffi), a subspecies of the brown, or grizzly, bear are the world’s largest bears. A full grown male can be over ten feet tall when upright on his hind legs and weigh over 1500 pounds – truly a sight to behold. One bear in the Bismarck, North Dakota zoo was estimated to have weighed as much as 2400 pounds.
The bears live on the islands of Alaska’s Kodiak Archipelago. Today there are approximately 3500 Kodiak bears and their numbers are increasing due to the generally excellent condition of their habitat including sufficient fist to eat. They are called “takuka-aq” in Alutiiq, the language of the people’s native to that area. The bears are believed to have been isolated there since toward the end of the last Ice Age over 12,000 years ago.
Though they are the largest terrestrial carnivore their diet includes large amounts of grass, other plants and berries. Today there are approximately 3500 Kodiak bears and their numbers are increasing due to the generally excellent condition of their habitat including sufficient fish to eat. Due to the abundance of food resources Kodiak bears have smaller home ranges than any other brown bears and have no need to defend territories.
The Alutiiq people hunted bears for food, clothing and tools. Arrows, spears, and a great deal of courage were required hunting equipment. Bear heads were usually left in the field as a sign of respect to the spirit of the bears.

I thought it was time for Alaska to issue another postage stamp:

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8-nugget alaska kodiak bear postage stamp

8-Nugget Kodiak Bear Stamp

Some people like to collect antique, aka vintage, printed advertising and labels from canned meat and produce. Labels can be had for from less than a dollar to hundreds of dollars. Fruit crate labels can go for thousands of dollars. The art on the labels is often very good and reproductions are popular.

Labels from canned salmon are seen frequently. A few examples, circa 1890 – 1910:

vintage wild rose canned salmon label

Wild Rose Salmon

clover leaf canned salmon

Clover Leaf Salmon

walrus brand canned salmon

Walrus Salmon

I thought I would work up my own “vintage” canned salmon label. The first actual cannery in Alaska opened in 1878. After some some research I based the image on examples of actual salmon labels and the coffee label seen below (circa 1870). Not quite as old and primitive as the coffee label, a bit less sophisticated than the 1890s labels.

lion brand coffee label - circa 1870

Lion Brand Coffee

My label, circa 1879, is below. Not quite as old and primitive as the coffee label, a bit less sophisticated than the 1890s labels. Other than a bit of discoloration and some damage in the upper left hand corner it is in really good shape; rare for a label this old.

Click on image for full-size view.

kodiak brand canned sockeye salmon label

Kodiak Brand Sockeye Salmon

Oh, and here are a couple of shots of the label before I removed it from the can.

salmon can front view

Front View of Kodiak Salmon Can

kodiak salmon can back view

Back View Of Kodiak Salmon Can

As usual, the bears are available on many items at my Zazzle store.

After the Salmon are gone what will we eat? A depiction of a Sockeye Salmon in its red spawning phase.

stop pebble mine

Stop Pebble Mine

Miners want access to a very large deposit of gold, copper and molybdemum, located in the headwaters of the Kvichak and Nushagak Rivers, two of the eight major rivers that feed Alaska’s Bristol Bay. Bristol Bay is home to one of the world’s few and most productive wild salmon strongholds that supports a $500 million commercial and sport fishery. Plans for the mine include the world’s largest earthen dam to be built, some 700 feet high and several miles in length. Independent scientists have questioned whether the dam could withstand the force of a massive earthquake, such as the 9.2 quake that devastated Anchorage in 1964. The dam and 10-square-mile-wide containment pond are intended to hold between 2.5 billion and 10 billion tons of mine waste that Pebble would produce over its lifetime – nearly enough to bury Seattle, Washington.

Mine tailings would include sulfides, which become sulfuric acid, as well as copper. The area around the mine is a spawning ground for salmon. Salmon are highly sensitive to pollution, especially copper. If salmon are exposed to even miniscule amounts of copper (parts per billion), their sense of smell is interfered and impairs their ability to locate spawning grounds and identify predators. By the consortium’s own admission the earthen dam will need to be maintained in perpetuity (i.e. forever) in order to ensure acid-generating tailings do not damage the environment. Activity at the mine will last for approximately thirty years until the ores are exhausted. And, we are supposed to believe that the consortium will still be around ten thousand years from now protecting the environment; or maybe just one thousand years from now, or even fifty years from now. Forever is a long time. After the mine is played out the consortium will be gone leaving an inevitable catastrophe in its wake.

In addition, the mine is to be sited in an active geological zone, but we are told the fault line miraculously goes around the site and poses no threat.

The consortium, the Pebble Limited Partnership (PLP), includes the world’s second largest multinational mining corporation, London-based Anglo American, along with Northern Dynasty, a junior mining company headquartered in Canada. Anglo American’s environmental track record does not bode well for Bristol Bay and Northern Dynasty has little experience safeguarding the environment having never developed a mine to date.

Anglo has a disastrous track record on the environment and worker safety at its worldwide mines, including:

Zimbabwe – Acid runoff contaminated groundwater and polluted the Yellow Jacket River from a mine owned by Anglo American until 2003
Nevada – Anglo American is responsible for the largest source of mercury air pollution in United States history. Recommendations to limit fish consumption have been issued for downwind fisheries.
Ireland – Lead and zinc contaminated river sediments and sections of the river were closed to anglers.
Over 220 mine workers have died at Anglo American mining operations in the last five years.

This image is available on many items at my Zazzle store, search under “After Salmon.” I will donate a hefty percentage of any proceeds from the sale of items to organizations fighting Pebble Mine. The more items sold the greater percentage I will donate – even up to 100 percent. In any event, please help stop Pebble Mine. For starters find more information here and here