How to live with grizzly bears without getting eaten

The object of TEDxCanmore speaker Steve Michel’s affection is a rather unusual choice — one of the most notoriously feared animals in the natural world. He calls her grizzly bear number 64, and she lives with her cubs in Banff National Park where Michel is leading a team to educate people about living in harmony with wildlife. 

What we interpret as aggression, he says at TEDxCanmore, is often self-protection. For example, grizzly bear number 64 brings her cubs to the edge of a golf course not to scare us (as we might assume), but to keep her cubs safe from stronger, meaner bears (as any good mother would). In this fascinating talk, Michel explains how a little understanding can make these feared creatures seem as a sweet as the Berenstain bears. 

Watch the full talk here »

Swimming with whales is not a typical task in most job descriptions, but it’s just a day in the life for TEDxSanJoseCA speaker Bryant Austin, a photographer who snaps images of these gentle giants from hardly 10 feet away.

In a quest to prevent the extinction of whales of all kinds — from humpback to minke — Austin uses his photography to create life-sized portraits of these creatures: one of which took over 200 hours to make and weighed a whopping 1,200 pounds.

At the top, a selection of his photographs — and below his talk on his process and the wonder of seeing a living, breathing whale up close:

Stewart Brand talks about reviving the passenger pigeon at TED2013

Bringing back extinct species — this Friday, TEDxDeExtinction discusses how we’ll do it and whether we should

An endangered species is like a very sick person: It needs help, desperately. An extinct species is like a dead person: beyond help, beyond hope

Or at least it has been, until now. For the first time, our own species—the one that has done so much to condemn those other 795 to oblivion—may be poised to bring at least some of them back.

National Geographic, "Species Revival: Should We Bring Back Extinct Animals?"

This process, the process of bringing an extinct species back from once-certain oblivion, is called de-extinction. As reported on the TED Blog, "The first de-extinction happened on the bucardo, a type of wild mountain goat. The last bucardo died out in 2000, but its ear was preserved, and in 2009 DNA from the ear was planted in a mother goat. The engineered bucardo died after 10 minutes due to a defect in its lungs.”

But is there hope for de-exintction to continue? With other animals? New Techniques? Could we someday see the wooly mammoth in the flesh? At TED2013, scientist Stewart Brand gave a introduction to the possibilities, and now he wants us to talk about it.

This month, along with his foundation Revive & Restore, with the support of TED and TEDster Ryan Phelan, and in partnership with National Geographic Society, Brand is convening a day-long conference — called TEDxDeExtinction — to showcase the prospects of bringing extinct species back to life, along with a discussion of the ethical issues involved.

On Friday, March 15, 2013, TEDxDeExtinction will bring 25 renowned experts together at National Geographic headquarters to contribute ideas to these four sessions:

  • WHO:  Who among extinct species should be revived first?
  • HOW: How can extinct species be revived?
  • WHY AND WHY NOT: Should we bring back extinct species?
  • WILD AGAIN: Could resurrected species ever be wild again?

Speakers include:

  • George Church, professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School and director of PersonalGenomes.org, the world’s only open-access information source for the human genome .
  • President of the American Ornithologists’ Union Susan Haig, whose specialization is working with species facing the brink of extinction.
  • Director of Genetics at the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation and Research Oliver Ryder, who oversees research efforts in cell culture and cryobanking, cytogenetics, population genetics, conservation breeding, evolution and systematics, and applications of genomics technologies to conservation efforts for managed and wild populations of threatened and endangered species.
  • New York Times, National Geographic, and winner of the American Association for the Advancement of Science Journalism Award journalist Carl Zimmer.

This day-long event will be webcast live on March 15 on the TEDx Livestream: http://new.livestream.com/tedx/DeExtinction and at http://nationalgeographic.com/deextinction.

To attend in person, event tickets can be purchased at the TEDxDeExtinction website.