PRIBILOF ISLANDS

KUCB

Since 2008, the Pribilof School District has devoted a week of classes to scientific and environmental issues unfolding in its own region. Reasearchers from across North America visit St. Paul Island to teach students about the world around them.

This year, KUCB's Zoë Sobel and former KDLG reporter Mitch Borden also taught middle and high school students the basics of reporting — and by the end of class, they had written questions and conducted interviews with the visiting presenters.

Pipa Escalante/KUCB

PenAir is headed to the auction block Wednesday — more than a year after the southwest Alaska airline filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Court and company officials have declined to name the prospective buyers that submitted bids last week, but residents say they're hoping for more reliable service.

Lauren Divine has had a lot of "unfortunate" experiences flying PenAir.

"With customer service, reservations, flights being delayed and canceled," she said.

Pipa Escalante/KUCB

Citing a nationwide pilot shortage, PenAir is reducing its flights to St. Paul Island and Dillingham.

Starting Oct. 1, the airline will fly between St. Paul and Anchorage three times per week instead of four — and between Dillingham and Anchorage two times per day instead of three.

"PenAir initiated a strong recruitment campaign several months ago and continue to hire and train as quickly and safely as possible," said company officials in a written statement. "We are confident we will be able to resume our schedule once our crew numbers permit."

John Ryan / KUCB

 

A rat is loose on St. Paul Island. And that’s a big deal because the Pribilof Islands have always been rat free.

Steve Delehanty, Refuge Manager for the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, says rats bring significant economic and environmental concerns.

“They damage people’s property. They damage food storage. They damage ship and boat electronics. They damage wildlife,” Delehanty said. “They eat birds, they eat bird eggs, they eat chicks. They can also transmit diseases.”

Zoe Grueskin / KNOM

 

Since May, hundreds of dead and dying seabirds have been found across the northern Bering and southern Chukchi Seas.

The National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have labeled the event a die-off and are coordinating monitoring efforts with local communities.

"These birds have been starving," said wildlife biolgoist Kathy Kuletz of USFWS. "They're very emaciated. Their muscles have atrophied."

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