The U.S., Japan and South Korea last week vowed to seek further U.N. Security Council action if the North conducted a launch. It remained to be seen whether Russia and China, the North’s main ally, would agree to further sanctions.
“What we learned from Hope is that she relies on very, very few places on the Earth to stop and fatten up and move on, wherever she’s moving on to, whether it’s breeding grounds or wintering grounds,” Smith said.
“My recollection is this defendant has appeared on national television…but there are so many threats against him and he’s so scared?” De la Rionda said. “He can’t have it both ways.”
In addition to satellite tracking, researchers are conducting aerial surveys to estimate seasonal numbers and collecting feather samples to locate summer and winter areas through stable-isotope analysis, and they have initiated a whimbrel watch program.
Pictures Yntema took of Hope indicated that the antenna on Hope’s transmitter had snapped off. While the transmitter still worked, without the antenna the satellite could not pick up her location.
On Saturday, North Korea had widened the dates during which it might conduct the launch of its Unha-3 rocket, citing a technical problem. Washington says the launch is a cover for testing technology for missiles that could be used to strike the United States. The previous four attempts all failed.