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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Will Orca Whales(Killer Whales) ultimately replace Polar Bears as "King of the Arctic" in Hudson Bay as climate change eliminates the far north Ice Packs that the Bears require to hunt seals from?


Orcas may replace polar bears as top predator. Here's where

Sunday, December 4, 2016, 4:31 PM - Researchers say melting sea ice in Hudson Bay continues to stir a dramatic shift in the food chain, with killer whales eating their way to the top of the predator list.
"We are seeing a lot more killer whale activity in Hudson Bay and they are a top predator," Steven Ferguson, researcher with Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the University of Manitoba told CBC. "They are really a magnificent, interesting predator - highly efficient."
According to Ferguson, sea ice irritates the dorsal fin of an orca. However, because ice is melting earlier each year,the predators are spending more time searching for food in the bay.

"They appear to be eating other whales and seals and, I would imagine, if we lose our sea ice they will replace polar bears as that top predator," the researcher told CBC.
Ultimately, this could have a major impact on other species.
Each summer, nearly 60,000 beluga whales migrate from the Hudson Strait to the southwestern coast of the bay to feed and mate. This is one of the largest concentrations of Belugas in the world. However, Ferguson says they are at risk.

"They are food for killer whales and we've had a few instances where we have recorded attacks by killer whales on the beluga population," he told the news agency. "It probably happens more often than we know because it's not an easy thing to observe.

What do killer whales eat in the Arctic?

January 29, 2012
BioMed Central

Killer whales (Orcinus orca) are the top marine predator, wherever they are found, and seem to eat everything from schools of small fish to large baleen whales, over twice their own size. The increase in hunting territories available to killer whales in the Arctic due to climate change and melting sea ice could seriously affect the marine ecosystem balance. New research published in BioMed Central's re-launched open access journal Aquatic Biosystems has combined scientific observations with Canadian Inuit traditional knowledge to determine killer whale behaviour and diet in the Arctic.

Orca have been studied extensively in the northeast Pacific ocean, where resident killer whales eat fish, but migrating whales eat marine mammals. Five separate ecotypes in the Antarctic have been identified, each preferring a different type of food, and similar patterns have been found in the Atlantic, tropical Pacific, and Indian oceans. However, little is known about Arctic killer whale prey preference or behaviour.
Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) is increasingly being used to supplement scientific observations. Researchers from Manitoba visited 11 Canadian Nunavut Inuit communities and collated information from over 100 interviews with hunters and elders.

The Inuit reported that killer whales would 'eat whatever they can catch', mainly other marine mammals including seals (ringed, harp, bearded, and hooded) and whales (narwhal, beluga and bowhead). However there was no indication that Arctic killer whales ate fish. Only seven of the interviewees suggested that killer whales ate fish, but none of them had ever seen it themselves.
The type of reported prey varied between areas. Most incidents of killer whales eating bowhead whales occurred in Foxe Basin and narwhal predation was more frequent around Baffin Island. Inuit were also able to describe first-hand how killer whales hunted, including several reports of how killer whales co-operated to kill the much larger bowhead. During the hunt some whales were seen holding the bowhead's flippers or tail, others covering its blowhole, and others biting or ramming to cause internal damage. Occasionally dead bowheads, with bite marks and internal injuries but with very little eaten, are found by locals.
'Aarlirijuk', the fear of killer whales, influenced prey behaviour with smaller mammals seeking refuge in shallow waters or on shore and larger prey running away, diving deep, or attempting to hide among the ice. Even narwhal, which are capable of stabbing a killer whale with their tusks (although this is likely to result in the deaths of both animals), will run to shallow waters and wait until the whales give up.

Orcas will come right up on beachfront land to grab a seal meal

Killer whales are seasonal visitors to the area and have recently started colonising Hudson Bay (possibly due to loss of summer sea ice with global warming). Local communities are reliant on the very species that the orcas like to eat. Dr Steven Ferguson from the University of Manitoba who led this research commented, "Utilising local knowledge through TEK will help scientists understand the effects of global warming and loss of sea ice on Arctic species and improve collaborative conservation efforts in conjunction with local communities."

Story Source:
Materials provided by BioMed CentralNote: Content may be edited for style and length.

Journal Reference:
  1. Steven H Ferguson, Jeff W Higdon and Kristin H Westdal, Aquatic Biosystems. Prey items and predation behavior of killer whales (Orcinus orca) in Nunavut, Canada based on Inuit hunter interviewsAquatic Biosystems, 2012 (in press)

Monday, December 5, 2016

Over the Thanksgiving week on 11/20/16, three cam photos and a video surfaced out of the Topeka, Kansas area showing a Puma alive and well..............Hunters treed the Puma(likely just one cat photographed multiple times-a likely prospector from the Black Hills of South Dakota)........He(or she-unlikely a she as females stay close to natal birthplaces) is still out there as we understand as of this Post...........Also below is an article depicting the Los Angeles metro Mule Deer Puma kills that have been documented by the National Park Service.........Male Pumas choose waterways bounded by woodland to hunt Mule and black tail deer with females avoiding these areas to avoid these males from killing their cubs)

Kansas teens’ mountain lion sighting among 3 in 15 days

Associated Press - December 3, 2016 5:13 pm



Two Kansas teens got a big surprise, and video, when the hound they were using to hunt raccoons
treed a mountain lion last month in Wabaunsee County.
The Wichita Eagle ( reports that the
 Thanksgiving night sighting was one of three documented
 within 15 days in a 60-mile area.

Pumas spotted just west of Topeka, the capitol city of Kansas

Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism biologist
Matt Peek doesn’t know whether that part of Kansas has
 multiple animals or one that has been getting around.
A motion-activated trail camera on Fort Riley got a good
image of a mountain lion on Nov. 9, though the authenticity
of the image has not yet been officially confirmed. A similar
 camera got a photo in Shawnee County on Nov. 20.
Sometimes a single animal is photographed multiple times
 in different locations.

 Mountain lion caught of 

trail camera in 

southwest Shawnee


‘It literally stopped me in my tracks, no pun intended.
Trail cameras have revolutionized the way deer
 hunters approach their hunting tactics, particularly
 bowhunters. As a result of their skyrocketing
 popularity there are literally thousands of the
 cameras perched on posts and trees all over
 the state keeping an eye on things when nobody’s

Image result for map showing south dakota and kansas

So it should come as little surprise these
 remotely-triggered cameras have been
 responsible for catching some incredibly
 cool, unique and ground-breaking images
 not even related to deer. Many of the nearly
 dozen-and-a-half confirmed mountain lion
 sightings were a result of trail camera photos.
 The most recent one might surprise you as
 not one, but three images of a no-doubt
 mountain lion were captured within a
stone’s throw of Kansas’ capital city by Rene

Tinajero, 43, a lifelong Topekan just started deer
hunting this year and put his first trail cameras up
on family ground in southwest Shawnee County in
early August.

“I’m a novice hunter and this is my first year to hunt and put
 out trail cameras,” Tinajero said. “We were getting the
 usual photos of does and some bucks and the only
surprises up until then were some coyotes and turkeys.”

Puma photographed on video
 camera in Laurel Canyon 
region of Los Angeles

open link and find LAUREL CANYON ON LEFT


A new study finds surprising results

where Mountain Lions hunt deer in
 Los Angeles

Los Angeles is the second largest metropolitan
area in the US, but it's retained some of its natural
 wild side. In the mountains surrounding the
metropolis, mountain lions — the last large
carnivore in southern California — live, hunt,
and try to repopulate. A team made up of scientists
 from UCLA and the National Park Service
 recently set out to see exactly how they're doing
that hunting, given the increased encroachment of
The researchers looked at pieces of land in the
Santa Monica Mountains and Santa Susana
 Mountains, bounded on every side by freeways,
farms, and urban or suburban communities.
They found that male mountain lions tended to
 choose wooded areas near water for their
grounds, and generally avoided human
 development. Researchers tracked over 400
kills and found that only two took place in
 developed areas. Females, on the other
hand, surprised researchers by hunting much
 farther from these wooded areas and closer
to development.
The researchers' best guess as to why
 females would be willing to hunt so near
 to people — on average, a little less than
 a mile away — was that they were trying
 to avoid aggressive males. Female
mountain lions travel with their kittens,
and would want to avoid having them
 hurt or killed by their very close relatives.
Previous research suggested that the
mountain lion's main prey, the mule deer,
had been moving into developed areas
during the last few years as a result of
severe drought. Human-maintained water
 sources such as swimming pools,
decorative ponds, and accompanying
vegetation have lured the deer further
into civilization, which has helped their
own numbers grow. As urbanization
 has helped its prey, female mountain
 lions appear to have relocated closer
 to people as a result.


For the most part, "mountain lions
 in and around LA appear to be doing
 a good job of finding places to hunt 
for deer while generally staying out 
of the way of humans," John Benson,
a wildlife biologist at UCLA and one
 of the authors of the study, told 
The Verge. At the moment, this
 relationshipis delicately balanced,
 and the mountainlion population is
However, Colleen St. Clair, a biologist
 who worked on a similar study at the
University of Alberta (but who did not
 contribute to this study), noted that \
the findings should serve as a
cautionary message: "[The study]
suggests that mountain lions are trying
 to find a balance between using the
resources that occur near people
without actually encountering them...
but we're going to have to find new
ways to manage conflict. In other words,
don't combine attractants for deer and
 hiding cover for mountain lions near
 places where humans live and recreate!"
While they are also plentiful in most of
the western United States, mountain
lions face unique habitat challenges in
the greater Los Angeles area. They aren't
considered an endangered species in
 California, but they are large carnivores
 that need uninterrupted swathes of land
 for hunting and for roaming between
 groups to spread genetic diversity
and repopulate.

mountain lion kittens(National Park Service)

Right now, groups of mountain lions are cut off
from each other by highways — they have the
 lowest genetic diversity of any animal besides
 the Florida panther, which nearly went extinct.
Jeff Sikich, a biologist with the National Park
Service and another of the study's authors,
toldThe Verge that this is the greatest immediate
 threat to the mountain lion populations in
 California, noting that biologists have
recorded male lions mating with their daughters,
and even grand-daughters, further dwindling
 the genetic pool.


An oft-proposed solution to this problem
 is a wildlife bridge connecting two of the
 largest mountain lion habitats — it would
 run directly over 10 lanes of the 101
 freeway. It would not be the first time 
such a measure was taken in the US,
 though it would certainly be the most
 ambitious effort. And while the idea may
 sound far-fetched, there
 is significant support for it.The National
 Wildlife Federation is raising funds to
 contribute to the estimated $30 to $38
million project, which was declared
 feasible by the California Department
 of Transportation last year.
Sikich expressed his enthusiasm for the
 project: "There's a lot of momentum, and
the public seems to be behind it. Most
people love knowing that there is a large
carnivore that remains in the Santa Monica
Mountains, and the mountain lion is the
 last one we have left."

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Predator co-existence policies championed by our friend Camilla Fox of PROJECT COYOTE are gaining traction throughout California, Chicago, Denver and many other locales............ As we begin the final month of 2016, thought a good time for a little reinforcement as to why co-existence (rather than intolerance and force removal-killing)with Coyotes(and other carnivores) is the superior life-paradigm that should become routine practice across our Country........Marin County, the home of San Francisco is a perfect case in point of how folks can buy into and champion living alongside carnivores........As Camilla puts it --- “They(coyotes) are seen a lot, giving people the impression the place is being overrun by coyotes when it is really just one family group,” said Camilla Fox, the executive director of Project Coyote, a national nonprofit group with headquarters in Larkspur"........... “Coyotes do not exceed the biological carrying capacity of an area, which is based on food and habitat availability"............"Fox said that killing coyotes can actually cause their populations to increase by disturbing the pack hierarchy and, in turn, allowing more coyotes to reproduce"...... "In a pack, only the alpha coyotes mate"............... "When the alpha is killed, all the animals disperse and breed"............." In virtually every instance of aggressive behavior, she said, the coyotes had either been fed by humans or were defending their dens during spring pup-rearing season"................ "On average, 20 people a year are killed by family dogs, but there has only been one documented case of a coyote killing a human in the United States — the 1981 death of a 3-year-old who was dragged away from her house in Los Angeles County"............ "It turned out the family had been feeding coyotes"

Marin County 


co-exists with coyotes

December 4, 2016

The three coyotes sleeping in the sun on a
 hillside behind a canopy of trees in Larkspur
 didn’t even flinch when Monte Deignan 
stepped forward with his binoculars this past 
week to monitor the neighborhood pack.

A family of eight coyotes has taken up residence
 in the hills, where homeowners and their pets are 
now on alert, but the 62-year-old Larkspur
 planning commissioner is thrilled to see wildlife
 so close to home.
“This is the perfect urban wildlife habitat,” Deignan 
said, scanning the virtually inaccessible brush-
covered landscape hidden from the road by a line of 
houses. “You realize they are very benign and, hey,
 they are taking care of the rodent problem.”
Yipping coyotes are a bedtime routine in virtually 
every city in Marin County, a veritable test case
 for a predator coexistence movement that is 
gaining popularity throughout the Bay Area and
 much of Northern California.
Once rarely seen, coyotes are now prowling
 the foothills, trotting through people’s
 backyards, boldly stalking prey and raising
 puppies outside living room windows. It 
is a situation that Bay Area communities, 
including San Francisco, are confronting
 as they receive reports of sightings from 
excited, and in some cases fearful, residents.
Larkspur and adjacent Corte Madera, in 
the shadow of Mount Tamalpais, are the
 latest to go gaga over the yowling fur-
covered throngs.
“They hear the (emergency) sirens in 
the city and they say, ‘Oh, we can out-do 
that,’” Deignan said. “It just triggers them.”
The cacophony is little comfort to the 
owners of cats and small dogs that have
 been known to find themselves on coyote
 dinner menus. Many parents are also 
uneasy having the wild predators near 
their children.
In an attempt to ease tensions, Project 
Coyote, the Marin Humane Society and
 Marin County Parks are holding a
 community forum on the highly adaptive
 animals this month. The discussion will
 include tips on how to coexist with coyotes
 in general and the Larkspur family of 
eight in particular.
“They are seen a lot, giving people the
 impression the place is being overrun
 by coyotes when it is really just one family
 group,” said Camilla Fox, the executive 
director of Project Coyote, a national 
nonprofit group with headquarters in 
Larkspur. “Coyotes do not exceed the
 biological carrying capacity of an area, 
which is based on food and habitat 
Public meetings have been held 
recently in Berkeley, San Francisco, 
Walnut Creek and other communities
 in the Bay Area where coyote sightings
 and confrontations have increased 
dramatically over the past few years.
The numbers are growing, Fox said,
 because the animals are moving back 
into places where they were killed off 
decades ago.
There are as many as 700,000 coyotes 
in the state, according to the California
 Department of Fish and Wildlife, but 
nobody knows exactly how many are 
in the Bay Area. The crafty creatures 
crossed the Golden Gate Bridge in the 
early 2000s and have since been 
reported in neighborhoods and parks
 Ingleside Terrace, Bernal Heights, 
Golden Gate Park, Stern Grove, 
Lake Merced, Mount Davidson 
Experts believe that the drought so
 reduced the populations of the
primary prey of coyotes — mice, voles 
and rats — that they began looking for 
food in neighborhoods.
But the center of the song-dog 
expansion is Marin County. The
 carnivorous canines were ravaging
 sheep on west Marin ranches as far
 back as 1998. The practice back 
then was to kill them, but in 2000 
the county formed the Marin 
Program, which essentially used
the money once paid to federal
 trappers to help ranchers build 
fences, corrals and lambing
 sheds, and purchase guard dogs.
The guard dogs in Marin have 
reduced predation and, according 
to the sheep ranchers, saved an 
industry that was struggling 
mightily in the 1990s just to 
remain viable.
The program has since morphed
 into a push for coexistence in 
urban areas like Mill Valley,
Larkspur, Tiburon, San Rafael
 and Novato. Signs telling residents 
to “Be Coyote Aware” are popping
 up, and wildlife advocates like Fox
 are pushing hazing techniques 
and the necessity of keeping food 
and garbage away from the animals.
“Coexistence takes some education, 
which is what Project Coyote is trying 
o provide,” said Fox, who co-wrote the
 book “Coyotes in Our Midst.”
 “Unfortunately, the knee-jerk response
 in a lot of urban areas to the presence 
of coyotes is lethal removal, often because 
homeowners associations have hired
 pest management services that are
 required by state law to either release
 them on site or euthanize them.”
Fox said that killing coyotes can actually cause
 their populations to increase by disturbing the
 pack hierarchy and, in turn, allowing more 
coyotes to reproduce. In a pack, only the
alpha coyotes mate. When the alpha is 
killed, all the animals disperse and breed.

according to Wildlife Services charts.
The animals are opportunistic and, given a
 chance, will sometimes kill and eat small 
dogs and cats, but Fox said they generally
 want nothing to do with humans. In
 virtually every instance of aggressive
 behavior, she said, the coyotes had
 either been fed by humans or were 
defending their dens during spring 
pup-rearing season.
On average, 20 people a year are
 killed by family dogs, but there has 
only been one documented case of a 
coyote killing a human in the 
United States — the 1981 death of a
 3-year-old who was dragged away 
from her house in Los Angeles County. 
It turned out the family had been feeding 
The hillside neighborhood in Larkspur 
is getting along just fine with the 
four-legged family, which shares the 
hillside with a large group of
 uncommonly bold deer.
“This is the urban wildland interface,
 and they are a part of it,” Deignan said.
 “I think it’s great we can live in an area 
and all get along.