Connect with us


Stubborn young beluga won’t stay away from the Maritimes




The Canadian Press

Published Tuesday, December 25, 2018 12:02PM EST

Last Updated Tuesday, December 25, 2018 12:39PM EST

SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. — A group of marine researchers says a young beluga whale is too attached to the Maritimes for his own good.

Nepi, who’s estimated to be about four years old, was spotted in Summerside, P.E.I., in early December, much to the delight of a local diving class.

“We heard a whale, or what we thought was something blowing, and then this whale appeared,” recalled Kimball Johnston, an instructor at Holland College’s commercial diving program.

The group, which included Johnston and 11 students, thought the whale would swim away and keep his distance. Instead, Nepi hung around the divers for several hours.

“He started coming around and was more curious, and was diving amongst our divers, and kept getting closer and closer to the point where he was right up next to them and they could see him very, very clearly,” he said.

Johnston, who’s been diving for more than 20 years, said he’s never seen a beluga so close to the Island.

While the students were excited to be in such close quarters with the whale, Johnston said they did not chase or entice Nepi to stay with them.

“We were there doing our thing and he was there doing his thing,” he said. “We were just going about our business and he just kept intruding.”

Robert Michaud, scientific director of the Quebec-based Group for Research and Education on Marine Mammals, says it’s worrying to see a young beluga getting friendly with people while away from home — especially when it’s a repeat offender, like Nepi.

Michaud’s group first came across the young whale in June 2017. After getting a call about a beluga being stuck in the mouth of the Nepisiguit River in Bathurst, N.B., the group coordinated a rescue that involved moving him to the St. Lawrence river in Quebec, near Cacouna.

Michaud said the rescue was an experiment.

“The St. Lawrence beluga population is declining, they’re endangered, so we were wondering whether saving an animal would help recover the population,” he said. “The animal was not too far from home, it was feasible, so we tried it.”

The marine research group put a tag on Nepi so they could track him, but the mischievous whale managed to lose it after about 20 days.

A year after he went off the grid, Nepi was spotted by a wildlife photographer in Ingonish, N.S., and researchers managed to identify the whale by looking at the photographs.

Now that the beluga has popped up once again in P.E.I., Michaud said he’s mystefied as to why Nepi finds the Maritimes so alluring.

“This young whale would be much better hanging around with others of his own kind in the St. Lawrence area. This is why we moved it back to Cacouna,” he said. “The question is why he went back again. Is it the individual temper of this guy to be adventurous?”

When belugas get too close to boats and people, Michaud said, it can often lead to tragedy for the declining species.

Michaud said the Group for Research and Education on Marine Mammals hears of many cases in which a beluga got hit by a boat or struck by propellors and killed, which is why it’s dangerous to allow them to get too close and encourage them to be fearless of people and their vessels.

“We don’t see what’s going on under our boat. So if we were fully aware, three dimensions around our boats, it might not be as dangerous,” Michaud explained. “But when the animals are not cautious, when you move in reverse with your boat, then accidents happen. So we hope it won’t happen with Nepi.”

While most belugas live in the Arctic, their southernmost habitat is in the St. Lawrence Estuary: a critical habitat for belugas, which are protected under Canada’s Species at Risk Act.

As of 2012, the St. Lawrence Estuary was home to an estimated 900 belugas — though they say there could have been as many as 10,000 belugas in the estuary before 1885.

Michaud asked that anyone who sees a beluga farther south than the estuary tell the group so they can try to identify it, and added that while Nepi’s wanderlust has marine experts concerned, he’s hopeful the young whale will come back home.

“They’re amazing navigators, they have the best underwater radar you can imagine,” he said. “P.E.I. is a bit closer to the St. Lawrence than Nova Scotia, so there’s reason to be hopeful. I cross my fingers for him.”


Source link

قالب وردپرس


More groups join in support of women in STEM program at Carleton




OTTAWA — Major companies and government partners are lending their support to Carleton University’s newly established Women in Engineering and Information Technology Program.

The list of supporters includes Mississauga-based construction company EllisDon.

The latest to announce their support for the program also include BlackBerry QNX, CIRA (Canadian Internet Registration Authority), Ericsson, Nokia, Solace, Trend Micro, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, CGI, Gastops, Leonardo DRS, Lockheed Martin Canada, Amdocs and Ross.

The program is officially set to launch this September.

It is being led by Carleton’s Faculty of Engineering and Design with the goal of establishing meaningful partnerships in support of women in STEM.  

The program will host events for women students to build relationships with industry and government partners, create mentorship opportunities, as well as establish a special fund to support allies at Carleton in meeting equity, diversity and inclusion goals.

Continue Reading


VR tech to revolutionize commercial driver training




Serious Labs seems to have found a way from tragedy to triumph? The Edmonton-based firm designs and manufactures virtual reality simulators to standardize training programs for operators of heavy equipment such as aerial lifts, cranes, forklifts, and commercial trucks. These simulators enable operators to acquire and practice operational skills for the job safety and efficiency in a risk-free virtual environment so they can work more safely and efficiently.

The 2018 Humboldt bus catastrophe sent shock waves across the industry. The tragedy highlighted the need for standardized commercial driver training and testing. It also contributed to the acceleration of the federal government implementing a Mandatory Entry-Level Training (MELT) program for Class 1 & 2 drivers currently being adopted across Canada. MELT is a much more rigorous standard that promotes safety and in-depth practice for new drivers.

Enter Serious Labs. By proposing to harness the power of virtual reality (VR), Serious Labs has earned considerable funding to develop a VR commercial truck driving simulator.

The Government of Alberta has awarded $1 million, and Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA) is contributing an additional $2 million for the simulator development. Commercial deployment is estimated to begin in 2024, with the simulator to be made available across Canada and the United States, and with the Alberta Motor Transport Association (AMTA) helping to provide simulator tests to certify that driver trainees have attained the appropriate standard. West Tech Report recently took the opportunity to chat with Serious Labs CEO, Jim Colvin, about the environmental and labour benefits of VR Driver Training, as well as the unique way that Colvin went from angel investor to CEO of the company.

Continue Reading


Next-Gen Tech Company Pops on New Cover Detection Test




While the world comes out of the initial stages of the pandemic, COVID-19 will be continue to be a threat for some time to come. Companies, such as Zen Graphene, are working on ways to detect the virus and its variants and are on the forefronts of technology.

Nanotechnology firm ZEN Graphene Solutions Ltd. (TSX-Venture:ZEN) (OTCPK:ZENYF), is working to develop technology to help detect the COVID-19 virus and its variants. The firm signed an exclusive agreement with McMaster University to be the global commercializing partner for a newly developed aptamer-based, SARS-CoV-2 rapid detection technology.

This patent-pending technology uses clinical samples from patients and was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. The test is considered extremely accurate, scalable, saliva-based, affordable, and provides results in under 10 minutes.

Shares were trading up over 5% to $3.07 in early afternoon trade.

Continue Reading