Hello from Wainwright, Alaska

Greetings from the coastal village of Wainwright, Alaska.  Wainwright is 72 miles southwest of Barrow, its coastline is bordered by the Chukchi Sea.  Approximately 500 people call Wainwright “home”, 90% are Inupiat Eskimo.  I last visited Wainwright in June of 2009.  I necropsied and collected tissues from 12 bearded seals and 5 walruses.  I am returning to Wainwright to examine more subistence harvested seals and walruses and to give a presentation about my research to the community members who were so kind and generous to me!  On the flight from Barrow to Wainwright, I sat behind a lady with a little dog named “Spike”.  Spike was strapped into a baby carrier of sorts-it was obvious to me that she greatly loved her little dog.  People on the North Slope do not have easy access to veterinary care, as there is currently no full-time resident veterinarian on the North Slope.  Although pets on the North Slope may not receive the level of care that we demand and are accustomed to in the lower 48, it does not mean that their pets are any less valuable or loved by their owners!

It is warmer in Wainwright-it was 80 degrees earlier in the week!  The mosquitoes are also more problematic-there is a reason the mosquito is jokingly referred to as “Alaska’s State Bird”!  Here is a photo of the beaches in Wainwright and of some Arctic Jellyfish.  The beaches are different than those in Barrow-in Barrow, the beaches are black while the beaches of Wainwright are more typical of beaches in the Lower 48.

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