Aug 27, 2009
National Public Radio (by Nell Greenfieldboyce) – On a remote fjord in northwest Greenland, traditional Inuit hunting techniques are being used to affix tiny, high-tech satellite transmitters onto narwhals — a kind of Arctic whale famous for its long, spiral unicorn horn. The narwhals in this area are particularly tricky to capture, and researchers hope this technique can help them learn more about these elusive creatures. Kristin Laidre, an oceanographer at the University of Washington, travels every year from her home base in Seattle (where she leads what she calls a “fairly normal” life) to Qaanaaq, Greenland, one of the most northern communities in the world, around 850 miles from the North Pole. This small town has brightly colored little houses looking out over a fjord filled with icebergs. In the summer, there’s endless sunshine and the sound of sled dogs barking. Qaanaaq is where Laidre meets up with her research collaborators: five local Inuit hunters.
Stories in Series:
- Inuit Hunters Help Scientists Track Narwhals (August 19, 2009).
- Chasing After the Elusive Narwhal (August 18, 2009).
- Reporter’s Notebook: Life on a Remote Arctic Fjord (August 16, 2009).
Sample audio (from Reporter’s Notebook):