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Coyotes-Wolves-Cougars.blogspot.com

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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Monday, January 21, 2019

"In Winter, wildlife can succumb to frostbite and hypothermia, just like people and pets. In the northern United States, the unfurred tails of opossums are a common casualty of cold exposure"...................."Every so often an unusual cold snap in Florida results in iguanas falling from trees and manatees dying from cold stress"............."Animal species have their own equivalent to what us human animals experience as that unpleasant biting mixed with pins-and-needles sensation that urges us to warm up soon or suffer the consequences"................"Many animals have evolved behaviors to help them beat the cold: migration, herding, denning, burrowing and roosting in cavities are all good defenses"................ And some animals experience physiological changes as winter approaches, building fat reserves, growing thicker fur, and trapping an insulating layer of air against the skin beneath the fur or feathers"..............."Some warm-blooded animals exhibit torpor: a state of decreased activity"..............."They look like they are sleeping" ............"Hibernation is a prolonged version of torpor"......................."Another secret weapon in mammals and birds during long periods of cold exposure is brown adipose tissue or "brown fat," which is rich in mitochondria"................"Even in people, these cellular structures can release energy as heat, generating warmth without the muscle contractions and energy inefficiency involved in shivering, another way the body tries to heat up"..............."This non-shivering heat production probably explains why people in Anchorage can contentedly wear shorts and t-shirts on a 40 degrees Fahrenheit spring day"

https://phys.org/news/2019-01-winter-miserable-wildlife.html

Is winter



 miserable for



 wildlife?





January 18, 2019 by Bridget B. Baker


While the weather outside may indeed get frightful this winter, a parka, knit hat, wool socks, insulated boots and maybe a roaring fire make things bearable for people who live in cold climates. But what about all the wildlife out there? Won't they be freezing?

Squirrel in Winter snow
















Credit: tim elliott/Shutterstock.com


Anyone who's walked their dog when temperatures are frigid knows that canines will shiver and favor a cold paw – which partly explains the boom in the pet clothing industry. But chipmunks and cardinals don't get fashionable coats or booties.
In fact, wildlife can succumb to frostbite and hypothermia, just like people and pets. In the northern United States, the unfurred tails of opossums are a common casualty of cold exposure. Every so often an unusual cold snap in Florida results in iguanas falling from trees and manatees dying from cold stress.
Avoiding the cold is important for preserving life or limb (or, in the opossum's case, tail) and the opportunity to reproduce. These biological imperatives mean that wildlife must be able to feel cold, in order to try to avoid the damaging effects of its extremes. Animal species have their own equivalent to what human beings experience as that unpleasant biting mixed with pins-and-needles sensation that urges us to warm up soon or suffer the consequences. In fact, the nervous system mechanisms for sensing a range of temperatures are pretty much the same among all vertebrates.
One winter challenge for warm-blooded animals, or endotherms, as they're scientifically known, is to maintain their  in cold conditions. Interestingly though, -sensing thresholds can vary depending on physiology. For instance, a cold-blooded – that is, ectothermic – frog will sense cold starting at a  compared to a mouse. Recent research shows that hibernating mammals, like the thirteen-lined ground squirrel, don't sense the cold until lower temperatures than endotherms that don't hibernate.
Some animals find a protected spot to wait out the worst of it, like this chipmunk. Credit: Michael Himbeault, CC BY









So animals know when it's cold, just at varying temperatures. When the mercury plummets, are wildlife suffering or just going with the icy flow?

One solution: Slow down and check out
Many cold-climate endotherms exhibit torpor: a state of decreased activity. They look like they are sleeping. Because animals capable of torpor alternate between internally regulating their body temperature and allowing the environment to influence it, scientists consider them "heterotherms." During harsh conditions, this flexibility offers the advantage of a lower body temperature – remarkably in some species, even below the 32 degrees Fahrenheit freezing point – that is not compatible with many physiologic functions. The result is a lower metabolic rate, and thus lower energy and food demand. Hibernation is a prolonged version of torpor.
Torpor has energy conservation benefits for smaller-bodied wildlife in particular – think bats, songbirds and rodents. They naturally lose heat faster because the surface area of their body is large compared to their overall size. To maintain their body temperature within normal range, they must expend more energy compared to a larger-bodied animal. This is especially true for birds who maintain higher average body temperatures compared to mammals.
Unfortunately, torpor is not a perfect solution to surviving frigid conditions since it comes with trade-offs, such as a higher risk of becoming another animal's lunch.
The large ears of a fennec fox would be a liability in a cold climate like where the arctic fox lives. Credit: Jonatan Pie/Unsplash and Kkonstan/Wikimedia CommonsCC BY













Adaptations that help
Unsurprisingly, animals have evolved other adaptations for weathering the winter months.
Wildlife species at northern latitudes tend be larger-bodied with smaller appendages than their close relatives closer to the tropics. Many animals have evolved behaviors to help them beat the cold: herding, denning, burrowing and roosting in cavities are all good defenses. And some animals experience physiological changes as winter approaches, building fat reserves, growing thicker fur, and trapping an insulating layer of air against the skin beneath the fur or feathers.
Nature has devised other neat tricks to help various animals deal with conditions that people, for instance, would be unable to endure.
Have you ever wondered how geese can appear to stand comfortably on ice or squirrels in snow in their bare feet? The secret is the close proximity of the arteries and veins in their extremities that creates a gradient of warming and cooling. As blood from the heart travels to the toes, the warmth from the artery transfers to the vein carrying cold blood from the toes back to the heart. This countercurrent heat exchange allows the core of the body to remain warm while limiting heat loss when the extremities are cold, but not so cold that tissue damage occurs. This efficient system is used by many terrestrial and aquatic birds and mammals, and even explains how oxygen exchange occurs in the gills of fish.
Carp in a partially frozen pond are doing fine. Credit: Starkov Roma/Shutterstock.com















Speaking of fish, how do they not freeze from the inside out in icy waters? Luckily, ice floats because water is most dense as a liquid, allowing fish to swim freely in not-quite-freezing temperatures below the solidified surface. Additionally, fish may lack the cold-sensing receptor shared by other vertebrates. They do, however, have unique enzymes that allow physiologic functions to continue at colder temperatures. In , fish even have special "antifreeze proteins" that bind to ice crystals in their blood to prevent widespread crystallization.
Another secret weapon in mammals and birds during long periods of cold exposure is brown adipose tissue or "brown fat," which is rich in mitochondria. Even in people, these cellular structures can release energy as heat, generating warmth without the muscle contractions and energy inefficiency involved in shivering, another way the body tries to heat up. This non-shivering heat production probably explains why people in Anchorage can contentedly wear shorts and t-shirts on a 40 degrees Fahrenheit spring day.
Of course, migration can be an option – though it's expensive in terms of energetic costs for wildlife, and financially for people who want to head closer to the equator.
As a species, human beings have the ability to acclimate to an extent – some of us more than others – but we're not particularly cold-adapted. Maybe that's why it's hard to look out the window on a frigid day and not feel bad for a squirrel hunkered down as the winter wind whips through its fur. We may never know if animals dread winter – it's difficult to gauge their subjective experience. But wildlife do have a variety of strategies that improve their ability to withstand the cold, making sure they live to see another spring.









Saturday, January 19, 2019

"As we begin calendar year 2019, some 150-200 Canadian Lynx are believed to call Colorado home"............"Colorado’s native lynx died out in the early 1970s because of trapping, poisoning and development"..........."Colorado represents the southern-most historical distribution of lynx, where the species occupied the higher elevation montane forests of the state right on through the late 1880's" ......"The state Division of Wildlife began reintroducing them in the San Juan Mountains of southwest Colorado by releasing lynx that were captured in Alaska and Canada"................."By 2006, 218 lynx had been brought in and equipped with tracking devices on collars so researchers could monitor their movements"..............."The first kittens born to the transplanted lynx were documented in 2003, and third-generation cats were first found in 2006".............."Their current home ranges include the San Juan Mountains in the southwestern part of the state with occasional sightings reported in high-elevation areas such as Copper Mountain, Vail Pass, Red Cliff, and Leadville"..............."Currently considered a stable and healthy population, their long-term prospects are very much tied to the virulence of the Spruce Bark Beetle infestation that warmer weather has helped aggravate..............This insects' destruction of the forest canopy effects the lynx's main source of food, snowshoe hare"................... "Snowshoe hare prefer a 'two-story forest,’ with lower vegetative shrubs and plants to eat; while the second story is used as protection and shelter from the elements"............."When you remove those over-stories, you're looking at a total forest turnover, which would be a deciding factor in whether or not those lynx populations thrive"

https://www.google.com/url?rct=j&sa=t&url=https://www.vaildaily.com/news/curious-nature-in-search-of-the-missing-lynx-column/&ct=ga&cd=CAEYASoTNzUzMzE2Njk3NTcxNjA1NjM4MTIaMWZiYWM0NmZiZmUyN2MzODpjb206ZW46VVM&usg=AFQjCNH2Wn1Cmurj-p-6RhKx4GQkiZ6vzA

Video of Lynx hunting Snowshoe Hare
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=swiSMSWgbKE

Curious Nature: In search of the missing(Colorado) lynx


Allie Feldmeir
Curious Nature


The Canada lynx is protected under the Endangered Species Act, which makes encountering one in the wild an extremely unusual occurrence, especially here in Colorado. The lynx by nature tends to be a reclusive and shy animal, rarely venturing into populated areas. According to Colorado Species Conservation Manager Eric Odell, the current population is estimated to be between 150 and 250 lynx throughout the state of Colorado.

David Zalubowski, Associated Press file
In this April 19, 2005 file photo, a Canada lynx heads into the Rio Grande National Forest after being released near Creede, Colo. Wildlife officials said Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018, the Canada lynx no longer needs special protections in the United States. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will begin drafting a rule to revoke the animal’s threatened species status, which has been in place since 2000.









Currently, the majority of lynx reside in the San Juan Mountains in the southwestern part of our state, though there have been occasional sightings reported in other high-elevation areas such as Copper Mountain, Vail Pass, Red Cliff, and Leadville. 

Keeping track of lynx has presented some unique challenges since the state discontinued its use of radio collars to monitor migration patterns in 2010. Most current information regarding the species relies solely on hiking trail cameras or eyewitness accounts by local residents or federal government employees.











How are lynx doing in our state?
In 1999, the reintroduction of 218 wild-caught Canada lynx began the great comeback for this elusive predator in our state. With an estimated population of 150 to 250 after two decades, any wildlife conservationist would consider this project a huge success. Odell assures the residents of Colorado that they "… are monitoring occupancy and it has remained relatively stable over the past four years, so [they] believe that the population is stable as well." Cal Orlowski, Mountain Sports Ranger for the White River National Forest, agrees that the population seems stable, and is close to the carrying capacity for the habitat we have here. After all, lynx don't have many predators in Eagle County — other than people and the development of national forest.















When it comes to Eagle County's local lynx families and the effects of our consistent development of wildlife areas, conservation gets tricky. In the past two years, there have been two reported lynx mortalities west of Vail Pass between mile markers 187 and 188, which the Eagle County Safe Passages for Wildlife group has identified as a primary habitat connection split down the middle by I-70. Many local residents in Eagle County agree with the need for a wildlife migration bridge in this area like those in other mountain states. These bridges could prevent many wildlife fatalities and create safe migration paths for animals crossing these habitat barriers.

We're not out of the woods just yet…

According to Odell, "there is a lot of uncertainty regarding future populations, certainly things like climate change, human development, and changes in the health of the forests will determine whether or not lynx will continue to thrive." Even seemingly unrelated issues like the spruce beetle can have drastic effects on the viability of lynx going forward. The invasive insects' destruction of the forest canopy effects the lynx's main source of food: snowshoe hare. Orlowski states, "Snowshoe hare prefer a 'two-story forest,’ with lower vegetative shrubs and plants to eat; while the second story is used as protection and shelter from the elements.  When you remove those over-stories, you're looking at a total forest turnover, which would be a deciding factor in whether or not those lynx populations thrive."














Lynx face many obstacles in the daily quest to survive, from habitat destruction to climate change. Despite the odds being stacked against them, this species continues to survive in the forests and mountains of Colorado. If you do get the rare honor of spotting a lynx, treasure it, because it might be the last time you see this phantom of the forest in its natural habitat.

Friday, January 18, 2019

"Although we don't know the original population of the Eastern Elk, it had to have been massive"................."When European settlers started colonizing the Americas, Eastern Elk could be found from Southern Canada to central Georgia and Louisiana, and as far west as the Mississippi River".............. "Their numbers were great, their herds were huge, and they were a prized catch among Native Americans"..................."The specific range and number of elk that inhabited the Northeast are unknown, but fossil bones of elk have been found in shell heaps in Maine and at archaeological sites in Rhode Island"................"Elk antlers have been discovered in bogs in Vermont and a pond in New Hampshire".............."In The Mohican World, author Shirley Dunn relates a 1714 account of a Native American guide who was showing a group of settlers land near the Catskills(upsatate NY)"..............."He pointed out a deep path worn in the streambank by herds of elk crossing a river".................."The last elk in Massachusetts was killed in Worcester County in 1732"................"The few remaining in Saranac, New York were dispatched in 1826".............."John James Audubon mentioned that by 1851, a handful of elk could still be found in Pennsylvania’s Allegheny Mountains"............"In 1737, the last sighting of an elk in South Carolina occurred"................"By 1850, it's believed the whole population had been eliminated except for a few isolated herds in the Allegheny Mountains of north central Pennsylvania near Cameron, Elk and McKean counties"..............."In 1877, the last known wild Eastern Elk was killed by John D. Decker in Pennsylvania".............."In 1880, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service declared the eastern subspecies of elk extinct".................."In the early 1900's, Elk from Yellowstone were re-introduced into Pennsylvania"............ "More recently, Kentucky, Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Michigan, Arkansas, and Wisconsin have free-ranging elk herds"................"Elk have also spread into West Virginia, and the first wild elk in 275 years was sighted in South Carolina, likely an emigrant from the herd in Great Smoky Mountains National Park"..............."Kentucky in particular has been a success story, and now has over 10,000 elk".............."The reintroduced elk are a western subspecies, smaller than the original eastern elk"


https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__r20.rs6.net_tn.jsp-3Ff-3D0016VsAknOYguLTQV-2DRxtb9LZh5Y1v9TTYcBhAl6VlhiFinckC7DotmhJWvDcZWFELewjt5fa96zcmJ0eNb3pdtdGwwIQ7QpqxyCvP1PgHUfFtfCHkWJIoCNcrDQRIRNpa2pZhqSN5enQyEQwkNJTl-2DQFGJQJsQwPm26OXjkFhvfA5qd3aNRLiwV5-5Fl6jsgq0irBTmHB2f2jBGJvxMyEjVL1-5FmJz-5FOoClrH6wq-2DeRZfz-5Fivy-5FvxkLhejQ-3D-3D-26c-3D4DjdH6GRx5s2Za9YXRaKD3fpI6mT-2DjJFQ0yYgUprdp5Q6rB7K9E1Cg-3D-3D-26ch-3Dj3xcEhCNCwVM8TtN5iSqSS-2DE3G-5F30bVoZ7tyxLsnIo3Xo3S0PM2yqw-3D-3D&d=DwMFaQ&c=-SicqtCl7ffNuxX6bdsSog&r=-DxtnAHbuRRkyWQnoegVz79cCKJiYDnPm_QtmQKN7-I&m=1MYHdphfnC2RKhVEn4uy9NBheqFWubulCiVQRJIj6ec&s=7-2Ht4tcbUgKbABTilspUTLqy59cWAHMNRpHRAzq-08&e=

Remembering the Eastern Elk


657119
Remembering the Eastern Elk
Illustration by Adelaide Tyrol
Hundreds of years ago, haunting bugle-like calls echoed through these hills and valleys. The sounds were made by bull elk to attract mates and fend off rivals. Elk in the Northeast? Yes, elk were once the most widely distributed of North American hoofed mammals. Millions roamed over much of the U.S. and Canada. Adaptable to a variety of habitats, elk were found in most ecosystems except the tundra, deserts, and the Gulf Coast.
The specific range and number of elk that inhabited the Northeast are unknown, but fossil bones of elk have been found in shell heaps in Maine and at archaeological sites in Rhode Island. Elk antlers have been discovered in bogs in Vermont and a pond in New Hampshire. In The Mohican World, author Shirley Dunn relates a 1714 account of a Native American guide who was showing a group of settlers land near the Catskills. He pointed out a deep path worn in the streambank by herds of elk crossing a river.
Much larger than their whitetailed deer cousins, male elk weigh 600 to 1000 pounds, while females are about 25 percent smaller. The bulls sport massive, spreading antlers. The animals are tawny or cream-colored, except for a dark brown mane around the head and neck. Elk are also known as “wapiti,” a Shawnee word meaning “white rump.” 










What happened to the eastern elk? According to historical accounts, when European settlers moved in, elk did not hide, but continued to roam where they always had, foraging near settlements, especially in winter. This made them an easy target, and reportedly settlers often killed more elk than needed: an “exterminating butchery” wrote zoologist J.A. Allen in 1871. In Lives of Game Animals (1929), Ernest Thompson Seton commented, “There are few stories of blood lust more disgusting than that detailing the slaughter of the great elk bands.”
The last elk in Massachusetts was killed in Worcester County in 1732. The few remaining in Saranac, New York were dispatched in 1826. John James Audubon mentioned that by 1851, a handful of elk could still be found in Pennsylvania’s Allegheny Mountains, but they were gone from the rest of their former range east of the Mississippi. In 1880, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service declared the eastern subspecies of elk extinct.
As the great elk herds dwindled, Teddy Roosevelt and others were moved to save the species in the West. States enacted hunting regulations and banned market hunting of elk. Sanctuaries such as Yellowstone were established.










There were a few early attempts to bring elk back to the Northeast. In the 1890s, sixty wapiti from Minnesota were introduced into the Blue Mountain Game Reserve in southern New Hampshire, owned by Austin Corbin, a wealthy developer. Later, Corbin’s heirs gave some elk to the State of New Hampshire for release. After the animals damaged crops, a hunt was authorized, and today there are no elk in the state, except on game farms. In the early 1900s, elk from Yellowstone were released in Pennsylvania. Today the elk herd in the north-central part of the state numbers about 900, and the Elk Country Visitor Center is a popular attraction. Pennsylvania elk prefer early successional habitats such as meadows (often provided by reclaimed strip mines), shrublands, and young forests.
In recent years, southern and midwestern states have reintroduced elk. Today, Kentucky, Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Michigan, Arkansas, and Wisconsin have free-ranging elk herds. Elk have spread into West Virginia, and the first wild elk in 275 years was sighted in South Carolina, likely an emigrant from the herd in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Kentucky in particular has been a success story, and now has over 10,000 elk. The reintroduced elk are a western subspecies, smaller than the original eastern elk.

Could elk be restored to the Northeast? A 1998 study on the feasibility of restoring elk to New York by two SUNY professors found good habitat, but raised concerns about potential elk-human conflicts such as vehicle collisions and crop damage. New Hampshire state deer biologist Dan Bergeron said he would be concerned about competition with deer and moose. Walter Cottrell, once the wildlife veterinarian for Pennsylvania, strongly advised against the idea. He said Pennsylvania reintroduced elk before chronic wasting disease, a devastating neurological disease that afflicts members of the deer family, became established in parts of the West. Arkansas brought the disease to their state via elk reintroduction (the disease cannot be tested for in live animals). Bringing elk to the Northeast would put our white-tail deer and moose at risk.
We may never hear the bugling of wild elk in New England again, but fortunately can travel south or west to get a glimpse of, and perhaps hear, this magnificent animal.
Susan Shea is a naturalist, conservationist, and freelance writer who lives in Brookfield, Vermont.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

"U. of Victoria(Canda) and First Nations biologists have just published research showing that the more variety of salmon that Grizzly and Black Bears eat, the bigger they get, the more offspring they are able to have and the better those offspring do"................"The team of researchers tested hair samples from 379 black bears and 122 grizzly bears between 2009 and 2014 to estimate their salmon consumption, which also indicates population health".............They studied animals across a 22,000-kilometre stretch along coastal British Columbia's "Great Bear Rainforest," in collaboration with the Wuikinuxv, Nuxalk, Heiltsuk and Kitasoo/Xai'xais First Nations".............."The Bear-Salmon relationship is very important to ecosystem health as bears carry salmon inland from the water and act as gardeners by fertilizing the ground with fish carcass which helps trees and other plants thrive"..........."Accordingly, Province and State Game Agencies must begin thinking of Salmon fisheries as benefitting not just commercial and recreational interests but other wildlife and ecosystems as well"................."Focusing on the health of both the larger as well as the smaller Salmon runs provide bears with the greatest variety and quantity of Salmon--enabling the Bears to be the best 'ecosystem-service-gardeners' possible"

https://www.google.com/url?rct=j&sa=t&url=https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/study-shows-black-bears-need-a-variety-of-salmon-species-to-be-healthy-1.4976727&ct=ga&cd=CAEYBCoTMTA2NTIwMzA2ODUzMjE5MzY1MDIaNTZkMWU3ZjE5ZThmOTk5MTpjb206ZW46VVM&usg=AFQjCNEqG1QBvtykeBtFEf4xSXl2g5DFfw

Study shows black bears need a variety of salmon species to be healthy

Smaller, less commercially viable salmon runs need to be protected, researchers say

Hina Alam · The Canadian Press · 
Black bears need access to different species of salmon rather than huge numbers of a single variety in order to be healthy, a new study by Canadian researchers indicates.



Lead author Christina Service said if bears have access to a "portfolio of different salmon species" then the animals have access to more food for a greater part of the year.
"It is the equivalent of humans going to an all-you-can-eat buffet for just a couple of days versus having one good meal a day for many months," said the PhD candidate from the University of Victoria, adding that the timing and location of salmon runs vary by species.

Salmon/Bear Study conducted in the Great
Bear Rainforest in British Columbia, Canada







When they have access to the fish for a larger part of the year, they end up eating more salmon overall and are in better health, she said.
The team of researchers tested hair samples from 379 black bears and 122 grizzly bears between 2009 and 2014 to estimate their salmon consumption, which also indicates population health.

Grizzly hunting Salmon





They studied animals across a 22,000-kilometre stretch along coastal British Columbia's "Great Bear Rainforest," in collaboration with the Wuikinuxv, Nuxalk, Heiltsuk and Kitasoo/Xai'xais First Nations.
Great Bear Rainforest 3 minute video
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qhLRn3fU31w

With bears hibernating in winter, they have only certain windows where they're able to eat, Service said.
So by having access to salmon earlier in the year bears can start fattening up sooner, she said.

Black Bear hunting Salmon






'Difficult time to be a salmon these days'

Kitasoo/Xai'xais First Nation Chief Councillor and study collaborator Douglas Neasloss said he is concerned that the federal government's current salmon management focuses on large salmon runs and often ignores smaller runs that contribute to diversity.
Study co-author Chris Darimont said researchers have expressed concern about the health of all salmon populations.
"It's a difficult time to be a salmon these days with climate change, reduced ocean productivity, over-exploitation, diseases from salmon farms and neglect in management," he said.

The Great Bear Rainforest








Service said the federal government should think about the management of fisheries in a holistic sense.
This means thinking of fisheries as benefitting not just commercial and recreational interests but other wildlife and ecosystems too, she said.
"We need to consider species diversity and not just abundance."
That means paying attention to smaller runs too, she said. "Those runs really matter for bears."
She said Fi

Bear-salmon relationship and the ecosystem

Bears play an important role in moving nutrients on land, she said, explaining that bears carry salmon inland from the water and act as gardeners by fertilizing the ground with fish carcass which helps trees and other plants. 
"It is important to care about bears because they are bears and they have intrinsic value, but the bear-salmon relationship is also very important to ecosystem," Service said.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

WILDLIFE CONSERVATION SOCIETY biologist Matt Scrafford is leading an Ontario, Canada study of its Wolverine population in an attempt to expand and restore the species in this Province..........'In Ontario, the Wolverine plays an important role in the cultural beliefs of many First Nations as symbols of strength"................."Historically, Wolverines were found throughout most of Ontario"............."Recent studies show some re-colonization of their historical northeastern range with the most optimistic estimates suggesting there may be several hundred".........."The main threat to the Wolverine is habitat loss due to forest clearing, and habitat fragmentation often associated with mineral extraction, forestry, and road creation".............."Wolverines in Ontario has decreased over 50 percent since the mid-1800s with them now found primarily in the far north central and western portions of the province"........"The pattern for Wolverine has been similar to that of Woodland Caribou with both species disappearing from southern Ontario fairly rapidly during the nineteenth century during a period characterized by a large increase in human settlement, logging and railroad construction, and during the early twentieth century, a period of intensive exploitation of wildlife"........."As one of the first species to disappear with the onset of human disturbance, Wolverines are an excellent indicator of ecosystem integrity" ..........."Moose and Woodland Caribou are the primary ungulate species in the Wolverine diet" ........."When carrion is scarce, small mammals and birds become primary prey for Wolverines with "Trappers noting Wolverines staking out Beaver lodges to get a meal" ............"Females do not produce litters successfully until they are an average of 3.4 years old with average litter size two to three kits with a life expectancy of eight to ten years" ................."Births generally coincide with periods of greater ungulate carrion availability and snow cover, which provides enhanced security cover for kits".................."A fundamental goal of Wolverine recovery is to provide for connectivity across its historical range in Ontario and neighbouring jurisdictions"




Rarely seen wolverines subject of northwestern Ontario tracking project

Researchers want to understand how to help the population rebound in the province








Matt Scrafford's job involves getting up close and personal with a notoriously elusive animal. 
He studies wolverines, and is currently working on a project that involves live-trapping, and tracking the animals near the town of Red Lake in northwestern Ontario.
It's not easy to do — to say wolverines keep to themselves would be an understatement — but that's what Scrafford loves about the job.













"Just the challenge of working with a species that's so low-density, so reclusive," he said. "Wolverines are really hard to find and so there's an element of challenge to that that's really exciting for me." 
The animals are also still relatively poorly understood, he said, which is what makes his current work, as a wolverine conservation scientist with the Wildlife Conservation Society of Canada, so important.
He's trying to get a handle on the animal's population numbers and demographic patterns in order to better understand how to manage the habitat of the species, which is threatened in Ontario.

Research could inform habitat management

The work involves anesthetizing the animals and fitting wolverines with GPS collars, which transmit information about their location every several hours, so researchers get a "fine detailed understanding of where the wolverine's spending its time," he said.














Researchers get a sense of where dens are located, and how wolverines are moving on the land relative to other things such as forestry operations and roads. 
"If we have that type of information we can manage populations to help with growth. If populations grow we could potentially take them off of the endangered species list here in Ontario," he said.













How do you trap a wolverine?
But before the wolverines can be collared, they need to be caught. 
To do that Scrafford and his colleagues work with local trappers, who give them advice on good spots to set up the live traps, which are sometimes constructed in the field using logs, and are baited with beaver meat.

Mother Wolverine moving her kit to a 2nd snow den for safety













When a scavenger jumps in, the lid closes, and Scrafford and his colleagues immediately receive a notification. The researchers will be located in a cabin nearby, he said, and snap into action to reach the site — usually by snowmobile — within the span of about an hour.  Animal welfare is paramount, he said, so when a trap is triggered the researchers respond at any time of day or night.
They have this low, just guttural grumble that can kind of just send ... shivers up 

your spine- Matt Scrafford
If a wolverine is inside, it's not hard to tell. Their distinctive sound can be heard from a distance of about 10 metres, he said.

Proposed Wolverine recovery zone in Ontario 













"They have this low, just guttural grumble that can kind of just send kind of shivers up your spine ... you know I've worked with 70 or 80 different individual wolverines and every time I walk up to the trap and there's a new individual in there making that noise it still does the same thing for me that it did the first time that I heard it."

Motion-sensor cameras

In addition to live trapping the animals, the researchers are also capturing images of them using cameras set up at stations in the woods. 
Across from those stations is a piece of meat, hanging from a tree, and strategically placed so that when a wolverine reaches for it, the animal exposes its chest pattern. Those patterns, unique to each animal, are like calling cards.



Wolverine historical southern range(dark shade)  
















"It's kind of like a human fingerprint," Scrafford said, adding that the photos then help them to estimate population numbers. 
Since the study was launched in 2018, Scrafford says they've managed to collar five wolverines – four males and one female. He said he hopes the study will go on for another year or two, so they can increase that number, and get a good sense of how the animals are faring on the boreal shield. 
For Scrafford, who also did PhD research on wolverines in Alberta, working with the animals is a dream job.












"They're furry and they're fluffy and handsome and [they've] got lots of personality," he said, "and they're pretty cool critters."

Sunday, January 13, 2019

We discussed last week how what was a Caribou population of tens of thousands in Maine at the time of European colonization gradually disappeared from that landscape and went functionally extinct in 1860 due to human settlement, hunting and Wolf prey-switching to Caribou as Deer expanded their range into northern Maine.............As of last year, the same has occurred in Montana, Idaho and Washington State---due to the same reasons that the Maine herd blinked out, the only difference being that Moose as well as Deer migrated into this once stronghold of Caribou as human development fractured its Northwest forest biome................."Just to the north of Montana and Washington, a splintered population of Caribou are holding on in some remote unfractured forest sections of British Columbia, Canada"..............."Biologist and photographer David Moskowitz spent four years documenting caribou ecology in this part of the world for his new book 'Caribou Rainforest: From Heartbreak to Hope'".............."Caribou need unbroken interior forest, where wolves and pumas find it harder to get at them"............"Their lifecycle includes a double annual migration, moving up and down in elevation rather than point to point across landscapes"..............."In winter, Cariibou wide hooves allow it to use the deep snow like an elevator so it can get at the lichens it eats around the tops of evergreen trees"................"When the snow melts it moves to lower elevations and depends on winds to blow lichen out of the trees to the forest floor"................"When midsummer reaches the upper elevations with green up, the caribou return to the peaks"................ "And when that dries up in fall before the snows return, the animal migrates downslope again"..............“Deer, elk and moose don’t like that old forest so there’s no predators there either"................."They have the ecosystem to themselves"

https://www.google.com/url?rct=j&sa=t&url=https://missoulian.com/news/local/last-look-book-recounts-decline-of-woodland-caribou/article_64f577c9-f09e-55d9-9d52-8c949b4814c4.html&ct=ga&cd=CAEYACoTNjAxMzUyNjY4NTQwNDIxMjY2MTIaZWM0NDQ0NDY0YzhiNmFhMTpjb206ZW46VVM&usg=AFQjCNEy6kyaZscCf8jyAAdBG9OaRs9EkA

Last look? Book recounts decline of woodland caribou

Rob Chaney, Jan 10, 2019


When you subtitle a book on a very fraught subject “From Heartbreak to Hope,” you really hope you got the order right.

That was David Moskowitz’s challenge after years of work documenting the decline of woodland caribou in the Inland Northwest Rainforest. The rare animals went functionally extinct in their Montana, Idaho and Washington habitat last year, but cling to persistence in parts of British Columbia.
A woodland caribou calf and cow check out a camera trap Moskowitz set to capture images of the rare mammals. Woodland caribou depend on old-growth forests for lichens that make up the main part of their diet.




“I understand the idea that people get depressed when they hear this,” Moskowitz said shortly before a visit to Missoula. “At the same time, healing comes from being honest and candid. It’s a chance to embrace the fact we have really big problems. My goal as a storyteller and journalist is to share the realities of the struggles we have. And the reality is change can happen.”

The first things to embrace are realization of an animal and an ecosystem few people knew existed. The massive caribou herds of the arctic tundra have been well-documented in nature films and hunting stories. Woodland caribou look like their smaller cousins, and live in some of the most inaccessible old-growth forests along the western Rocky Mountains.














The old-growth cedars of this Selkirk Mountain forest in British Columbia were clearcut shortly after Moskowitz photographed the area. The black metal bands around the tree at right keep the trunk from splitting when it's cut down. Woodland caribou adapted to become the only large mammal that exclusively uses such forests.




“David’s email showed up in my inbox about a decade ago, asking for advice about where to find woodland caribou,” said University of Montana biologist Mark Hebblewhite. “I gave him some ideas and never expected to hear from him again. These are the most enigmatic, mysterious animals we have in this part of the world.”
Instead, Moskowitz returned with mounds of photos and video of the ungulates. His images and research have been compiled in the book “Caribou Rainforest: From Heartbreak to Hope.” His film, “The Last Stand” will be shown in Missoula on Monday at 7 p.m. in the University Center Theater.
Four years ago Moskowitz had some time in his summer schedule and decided to try and see the woodland caribou he’d written two previous books about.
The woodland caribou of the Inland Northwest Rainforest have gone functionally extinct in the United States, but 




“I spent a month in the caribou rainforest looking for them, and that’s when I realized the scope of the story,” Moskowitz said. “As I was driving up the road to their habitat, their habitat was literally coming down the road on logging trucks. They’re relying on old growth, and we’re liquidating the forest out from under them while spending millions of dollars to recover them.”
Most rainforests are along ocean coasts, like Olympic National Park in Washington or the ecosystems in Australia, Norway and Kamchatka. When Glacier National Park rangers tell visitors to Avalanche Creek’s massive cedar trees that they’re in the farthest eastern extent of the Great Pacific Northwest Rainforest, that’s what Moskowitz means. It may be the only significantly sized inland rainforest remaining on earth, and it was the woodland caribou’s last stronghold.
“Only the Pacific Northwest has an interior rainforest,” Moskowitz said. The temperate rainforest has more biomass than any other system on earth. These places burn once every 500 to a thousand years. So they’ve got thousand-year-old duff.”









The woodland caribou evolved to exploit that unique ecology. For example, it follows a double annual migration, moving up and down in elevation rather than point to point across landscapes. In winter, its wide hooves allow it to use the deep snow like an elevator so it can get at the lichens it eats around the tops of evergreen trees. When the snow melts it moves to lower elevations and depends on winds to blow lichen out of the trees to the forest floor.
“Lewis and Clark almost starved to death around Lolo Pass, which was great caribou habitat,” Hebblewhite said. “We still had a woodland caribou herd around Lolo in the 1930s.”
When midsummer reaches the upper elevations with green up, the caribou return to the peaks. And when that dries up in fall before the snows return, the animal migrates downslope again.
“Deer, elk and moose don’t like that old forest,” Moskowitz said. “So there’s no predators there either. They have the ecosystem to themselves.”








Or they did, until biological research revealed that industrial development poked a hole in the caribou mountain fortress. Logging has targeted much of the old-growth forests in British Columbia and the northern United States, even though the market for those big trees tends to be pulp. Many Canadian timber companies then spray the cut blocks with herbicide to kill broadleaf plants that might compete with the new tree seedlings they plant to regrow the original forest. Those regenerated areas tend to be much more productive for deer and moose than caribou.
Seismic exploration roads for oil and coal have penetrated much of what’s left. Those roads allow wolves and mountain lions to get at the expanded deer and moose populations. In the process, they find the caribou, which have few evolutionary defenses to active predators.
The Selkirk herd that used forests of northern Idaho and Washington had about 50 caribou in 2009. Last summer, aerial surveys found just three animals south of the Canadian border.







“They’re the most recent large-profile animal to go extinct under our noses,” Hebblewhite said of the U.S. caribou herds. Approximately 3,800 woodland caribou remain in British Columbia, and that number fell 15 percent from the 2017 surveys.
North of the border, U.S. Indian tribes and Canadian First Nations collaborated to build maternity pens in hope of shielding caribou cows and their newborns from predators at their most vulnerable times. The pens have shown little success. Hebblewhite said efforts to use hunters to reduce the moose populations in caribou habitat, which in turn discourage wolves from moving in, has shown some good effect. The province has also set aside 2 million hectares (4.9 million acres) of protected woodland caribou habitat.
But if those efforts fail, Moskowitz said many other species will suffer. British Columbia has tied those protections to the woodland caribou’s persistence.
“If the caribou disappear, those habitat protections are at risk as well,” Moskowitz said. “If we decide there’s no real possibility of recovering population, we’d let go of those habitat protections. Some entities are trying to run out the clock so they can stop dealing with caribou and release these lands for logging.”
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KIRKUS REVIEW
Caribou: From Heartbreak to Hope
A remnant group of elusive caribou in the Rocky Mountains embody the plight of a wilderness under siege in this lavishly illustrated eco-study.
Moskowitz (Wolves in the Land of Salmon, 2013, etc.), a wildlife tracker and photographer, explores the lives of the so-called “mountain caribou,” a subpopulation of reindeer living in a region of the Rockies that’s also the world’s largest interior temperate rainforest, stretching some 500 miles from Washington and Idaho to British Columbia. The area’s old-growth forests, watered by heavy rainfall and deep winter snowpack, furnish an unusual ecological niche for the caribou, who migrate up and down the mountains, subsisting mainly on lichen. Meanwhile, the caribou’s endangered status energizes human efforts to protect the forests from man-made encroachments. Moskowitz analyzes this biologically unique environment and the complex adaptations that caribou and other creatures have that enable them to survive there, surveys the destruction wrought by logging operations, examines the place of caribou in Indigenous cultures, and celebrates his own communion with primeval nature: “I bask in a moment of grace,” he writes about spying a grizzly and her cub in a clearing. The author’s tone occasionally gets strident, as when he decries “the juggernaut of Western civilization’s cancerous relationship with its habitat.” But his absorbing natural history usually makes a more measured, if still ardent, plea for preserving the forest and its fauna while also accommodating limited, sustainable human use of its resources. The book is strewn with gorgeous color photographs, most taken with camera traps that used motion detectors to sense and snap passing beasts. The caribou browsing the foliage or sniffing the lens aren’t the most visually charismatic creatures, and they frequently come off as a bit mangy. But other animals steal the show, including majestic bears, hypnotic mountain lions, suave lynxes, quarrelsome marmots, shrill wrens, and imperturbable toads. Moskowitz’s composed landscapes—featuring stars and the aurora borealis shimmering above trees, craggy peaks, soft meadows, and ravaged clear-cuts—are especially good and make a powerful argument for conservation.
A fine coffee-table tome about a rich and threatened ecosystem.