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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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Monday, September 1, 2014

While it feels that the decision to end the Red Wolf restoration program in North Carolina has already been made by USFW(usually public commentary is just a smokescreen and decisions in D.C. have already been made), it is useful to learn about the most recent peer reviewed research in the August 2014 issue of THE JOURNAL OF MAMMALOGY that speaks about the distinct nature of the Red Wolf, different from both the western and eastern Coyote..............Joseph Hinton and Michael Chamberlain out of the University of Georgia state the following-----"AMONG THE THREE SYMPATRIC CANIS TAXA IN EASTERN NORTH CAROLINA, RED WOLVES ARE CLEARLY THE LARGER CANID WITH HYBRIDS INTERMEDIATE TO COYOTES AND RED WOLVES IN BODY SIZE"........."OUR RESULTS SUGGEST THAT RED WOLVES REPRESENT A UNIQUE CANIS PHENOTYPE IN THE SOUTHEASTERN UNITED STATES"......"HYBRIDS(ADMIX OF RED WOLVES AND COYOTES) ARE INCAPABLE OF REACHING BODY SIZES OF ADULT RED WOLVES"................"EFFECTS OF BODY SIZE, ON THE RELATIVE ABILITY OF RED WOLVES AND COYOTES SO SUCCESSIVELY HUNT PREY, ACQUIRE MATES AND DEFEND TERRITORIES ARE NOT WELL KNOWN"........So before we abandon the Red Wolf program, this study (MORPHOMETRICS OF CANIS TAXA IN EASTERN NORTH CAROLINA) DOES STRONGLY SUGGEST THAT THE FEDS STAY THE COURSE AND CONTINUE TO BUILD UP THE RED WOLF POPULATION TO MAKE SURE THAT ALL ECOLOGICAL FUNCTIONS HISTORICALLY CARRIED OUT BY RED WOLVES IN THE USA WILL CONTINUE TO BE FULFILLED JUST AS THEY CONTINUE TO BE FULFILLED BY EASTERN WOLVES(MANY FEEL THE SAME SPECIES AS RED WOLVES) IN ALGONQUIN PROVINCIAL PARK IN CANADA(those wolves are also surrounded by eastern coyotes yet continue to maintain species integrity inside that Park)

Feds seek input on

 maintaining red wolf


Associated PressAugust 29, 2014 

Federal wildlife officials asked the public Friday to
 weigh in as
 the government reviews whether to continue
 maintaining the
 world's only wild population of the red wolf in eastern
North Carolina.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that it
had awarded
 a contract to the Virginia-based nonprofit Wildlife
 Institute to evaluate its 27-year experiment to
restore the
 endangered species to the wild.

Read more here:

"Once we receive the final evaluation, we will review it and make a decision to continue, modify, or terminate the red wolf recovery program," said Leopoldo Miranda, an assistant regional director for the Fish and Wildlife Service

Asked about what terminating the program would entail, Miranda said during a conference call that no decisions have been made. When a program to restore the wolves to the Smoky Mountains in the western part of the state ended in 1998, the agency tried to capture all of the animals and bring them back to captivity, he said.
Sierra Weaver, a lawyer with the Southern Environmental Law Center, said the public should be given longer than two weeks to comment, especially considering the announcement came at the start of a holiday weekend. She also said that the federal agency failed to put a notice of the review in the Federal Register as required.
"The agency has failed to comply with the process outlined in the Endangered Species Act for this type of review and we are concerned it is not taking seriously its responsibilities to save the red wolf from extinction," she said.
A spokesman for the federal agency didn't immediately respond to an email seeking comment on Weaver's criticism Friday afternoon.
In May, the Southern Environmental Law Center helped convince a federal judge to block the hunting of coyotes near the red wolf habitat. They argued that the animals look similar and are easily confused, leading to the wolves being shot.
The judge issued a ban on hunting until a trial takes place on a lawsuit by the environmental group seeking to permanently end coyote hunting in several eastern North Carolina counties. The lawsuit is pending.

In all, eight of the wolves have died in 2014, including two killed by gunshot. Several of them died from car accidents or health issues.
Miranda said Friday that none of the wolves have been shot to death since the ban was enacted.
The Sept. 10 and Sept. 11 public meetings will be in Columbia and Swan Quarter, respectively. The meetings are open to the public and will involve moderators interacting in discussions with the participants.
Journal of Mammalogy 95(4):855-861. 2014

Morphometrics of Canis taxa in eastern North Carolina
No Access
Joseph W. Hinton* and Michael J. Chamberlain
Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA
* Correspondent:
Associate Editor was Roger A. Powell.


We describe the external morphological characters of red wolves, coyotes, and their hybrids from North Carolina and assess if morphology could be an accurate discriminator among the 3 canid taxa. We used body measurements from 171 red wolves (Canis rufus), 134 coyotes (Canis latrans), and 47 hybrids in a polytomous logistic regression analysis to assess if they could be used to identify canids as red wolves, coyotes, or hybrids. Polytomous logistic regression analysis of 7 morphometric variables was able to correctly allocate 86% of canids to their a priori taxa groups. Using Akaike's information criterion, we judged hind-foot length, body mass, width of head, and tail length as variables to best separate taxa. Among the 3 sympatric Canis taxa in eastern North Carolina, red wolves are clearly the larger canid with hybrids intermediate to coyotes and red wolves in body size. Our results suggest that red wolves represent a unique Canis phenotype in the southeastern United States.
Received: August 19, 2013; Accepted: April 8, 2014

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Sunday, August 31, 2014

If in fact the 8750 surveys mailed to Wisconsin residents truly represent an accurate cross-section of the population there, then the 55% response IN FAVOR OR KEEPING 660 OR MORE WOLVES(CURRENT ESTIMATE IS 660--PRE SETTLEMENT ESTIMATE OF 3-5000 WOLVES CALLING WISCONSIN HOME) ROAMING THE STATE IS A RESOUNDING WIN FOR THIS TROPHIC CANID........And with the Wisconsin survey weighted 87% residents living in Wolf country and 13% residents living outside of Wolf country, that 55% in favor of keeping the current Wolf population intact is a minimum IN FAVOR OF %(as most of the population of Wisconsin lives outside Wolf country).............As I often say to my colleagues at work after I complete my end of a project,,,,,,,,,,,,,,"BALL TO YOU" WISCONSIN DEPT. OF NATURAL RESOURCES----NOW LETS SEE YOU REVISE A WOLF MANAGEMENT PLAN THAT IS IN TUNE WITH YOUR CONSITUENTS ARE CALLING FOR

Wolf survey finds support for animals

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Paul A. Smith, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
August 31, 2014
WAUSAU—The primary challenge of modern wildlife management is not related to wildlife. It has to do with people.
Aldo Leopold, one of our guiding lights in conservation, was wearied during the Wisconsin deer wars of the mid-20th century.
An aphorism from that era is often expressed as: “Deer management is easy. People management is tough.”

As the decades have proved, good resource management must take into account social and biological data.
Human dimensions of wildlife conservation is increasingly acknowledged as a leading field of science.
It’s a study of how people’s knowledge, values and behaviors influence and are affected by decisions about wildlife and natural resources.
But the social component can’t be just a selection of comments or opinions. If you listen only to the people who yell loudest or who turn up at a meeting or have privileged access to decision-makers, you’re not likely to get a true representation of public sentiment.
Social science must be just as rigorous and well-designed as any biological study.
The field of human dimensions of wildlife took center stage this week in Wisconsin—in a good way.
On Tuesday, the Department of Natural Resources released “Public Attitudes towards Wolves and Wolf Management in Wisconsin.”
The report detailed results of a 2014 mail survey of Wisconsin residents.
The survey was designed and conducted by DNR social scientists Bob Holsman, Natalie Kaner and Jordan Petchenik.
The DNR sent 7,150 surveys to residents in wolf range and 1,600 to households outside wolf range. Fifty-nine percent were returned.
The survey set out to measure public opinion about wolves and wolf management among state residents.

The information is available just in time as the agency works to update its wolf management plan. It is scheduled to have a draft plan available for public comment this fall and a final plan to the Natural Resources Board in early 2015.
What should be in the plan? How should wolves, which have recovered over the last four decades, be managed?
Perhaps no issue reveals as wide a range of opinions in Wisconsin as wolf management.
Since the Legislature quickly passed a 2012 law creating a hunting-and-trapping season for wolves, the DNR has worked to push wolf numbers down. The target: a 350-animal goal listed in a 1999 management plan.
Is that what the public wants?
The public-attitudes survey provides the DNR with the best wolf information it has ever had at its disposal.
Among survey respondents in wolf range, 53 percent wanted wolf numbers maintained at current levels or increased in their county of residence, while 18 percent wanted wolves decreased and 15 percent wanted them eliminated.
This portion of the survey is critical since residents of wolf range live with depredation issues. When more than half of local residents want wolf numbers held steady or even increased in their county, the level of support for wolves is high.
Outside of wolf range, 56 percent wanted wolf numbers maintained or increased statewide.
At the time the survey was administered, Wisconsin had a minimum of 660 wolves, according to the DNR.
If the DNR produces a wolf plan that sticks to the old goal of 350, it can expect—and it will deserve—a public outcry.
Another aspect of the survey is notable: Most state residents support a “public wolf harvest.”
Forty percent supported a hunting-and-trapping season as a tool for reducing the wolf population, 26 percent supported the season as long as it can be sustainable, 21 percent opposed the season and 17 percent were undecided.
The agency deserves credit for taking on such a large-scale, sophisticated survey. If you don’t think 59 percent response rate on 8,750 surveys is high, check the next political poll you hear quoted. Its sample size will likely be less than 1,000.

The DNR budgeted about $70,000 for the work, said Holsman, whom the DNR hired in 2013. He previously worked for UW-Stevens Point.
The agency gets a tip-of-the-cap also for doing work that could have—and did—produce a rebuke to its plan to reduce wolves to 350.
Wisconsin residents have apparently adjusted to wolves in the post-delisting era. A majority of the public supports a regulated wolf harvest and a wolf population at least as large as it has this year.
Armed with perhaps the best human dimensions research ever conducted in Wisconsin, it is now the DNR’s job to make the updated wolf management plan reflect the public’s views.
- See more at:
History, Population Growth, and Management
of Wolves in Wisconsin
Adrian P. Wydeven, Jane E. Wiedenhoeft, Ronald N. Schultz ,
Richard P. Thiel , Randy L. Jurewicz , Bruce E. Kohn , and

Timothy R. Van Deelen

The gray wolf has exhibited a remarkable recovery in Wisconsin during the late
twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, despite a common belief during the
mid-1900s that the state was no longer wild enough to support populations of large
predators such as gray wolves.

 In some ways, Wisconsin seems like an unlikely
place for wolves to have recovered. The state’s nickname, “America’s Dairyland,”
reflects the abundance of livestock farming. Wisconsin has over 3.3 million cattle and
over 5.5 million people in a land area of 140,663 km 2 . Roughly half the state is forest,
and in 2002, 46% was classified as farmland (Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau
2003) . Public lands include 16.4% of the state, with major land ownership in county
forests, national forests, national wildlife refuges, state forests, and state wildlife areas
(Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau 2003) . Wisconsin’s largest federal or state
designated wilderness area covers 73 km 2 .

Despite few large wild areas, wolves were able to recolonize and again become
important elements of forest ecosystems in northern and central Wisconsin. Legal
protection, public education and outreach, and sound scientific management of
public forest lands enabled wolves to recover and demonstrated that wolves can
recover without extensive wilderness, provided there is adequate habitat, prey, legal

protection, and public acceptance.

Early History and Initial Recolonization
of Wolves in Wisconsin
Gray wolves probably have occupied Wisconsin since the last glacier receded about
10,000 years ago, and perhaps earlier in portions of southwestern Wisconsin that
were not glaciated. Populations of wolves probably fluctuated with the size of
ungulate populations. When the first European exploration began in 1634, wolves
coexisted with herds of bison ( Bison bison ), elk ( Cervus elaphus , and white-tailed
deer ( Odocoileus virginianus ) in prairies, savannas, and oak ( Quercus ) and maple
( Acer ) forests of southern Wisconsin, and with moose ( Alces alces ), white-tailed
deer, and small numbers of caribou ( Rangifier tarandus ) in the hemlock-maple
( Tsuga-Acer ), pine ( Pinus ), swamp conifers, and boreal forests and bogs of northern

 Beavers ( Castor canadensis ) also were abundant throughout the state,
but probably more so in the streams and glacial lakes of northern Wisconsin.
When European settlement started in earnest during the 1830s, beavers were nearly
eliminated due to unregulated trapping during the fur trade, and bison were
extirpated by Native Americans after acquiring horses and firearms (Thiel 1993) 


Other prey such as deer, elk, and moose were probably still relatively abundant.
Jackson (1961) speculated that there were 20,000–25,000 wolves in Wisconsin
at the beginning of European settlement. This would have represented an unlikely
density of 142–177 wolves per 1,000 km 2 . Wolf densities this high have not been
documented in modern research on wolves in North America (Fuller et al. 2003) .
Wydeven (1993) speculated that perhaps 3,000–5,000 wolves existed at the
beginning of European settlement, or about 20–35 wolves per 1,000 km 2 .
This estimate appears more compatible with likely prey abundance and agrees with
recent research on wolf densities.

A bounty for the killing of wolves was offered by the Wisconsin Territory from
1839 through 1847, and following statehood (1848), a state bounty ran nearly
continuously from 1865 to 1957 (Thiel 1993) . Bounties were paid to private trappers
and hunters for killing wolves and coyotes ( Canis latrans ), and both species were
listed as wolves in bounty records. After 1947, when wolves had declined to very
low numbers, wolves were distinguished from coyotes in the bounty records (Thiel
1993) . Unlike western states, federal and state governments made no concerted
effort to eliminate wolves in Wisconsin. Rangeland grazing of livestock was not
practiced across northern Wisconsin, and livestock were normally kept in small
fenced pastures near farmsteads. Nonetheless, unregulated hunting and trapping, as
well as the incentive of bounty payments, caused the eventual collapse of the wolf

population in Wisconsin.

Recolonization of Wisconsin by wolves began by 1975, and by 1979, five wolf
packs were established in two Wisconsin counties. A wolf pack was detected in
Minnesota along the Wisconsin border during winter 1974–1975, and between
1975 and 1979, five wolves were found dead in Douglas County, Wisconsin, just
east of the Minnesota border (Mech and Nowak 1981 ; Thiel 1993) . Thiel and
Welch (1981) documented breeding packs of wolves in the state by 1977 and 1978.
In 1979, two wolves were also found dead in Lincoln County, about 200 km southeast
of the Douglas County packs (Thiel 1993) . The source of colonizing wolves was
likely the large Minnesota population to the west, although the appearance of a
pack in Lincoln County in north-central Wisconsin in 1979 may indicate that some
wolves had persisted in parts of Wisconsin. 

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) also maintained a 
list of state endangered and threatened species, and with their return, gray wolves
were listed as endangered species under state law in 1975. In 1979, the WDNR began
a program of formal monitoring of the wolf population (Wydeven et al. 1995) .

The late-winter wolf population grew from 25 wolves in 1979–1980 to 540
wolves in 2006–2007. During this period the range occupied by territorial wolves
grew from <1 2="" km="" to="">14,000 km 2 . Mean pack size has generally averaged
slightly less than 4, survival rates of pups to the end of the first winter averaged
29%, and about 32% of packs were unsuccessful raising pups

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Most Federal and Nevada state biologists postulate theat gray wolves were not numerous in pre-colonial Nevada.............However, the Paiute Indians historically known as the Tudinu (or Desert People), , who occupied the territory encompassing part of the Colorado River, most of Southeastern Nevada and parts of both Southern California and Utah featured the wolf prominently in their creation story, leading many to feel that the Gray Wolf did indeed have a legitimate foothold in pre-colonial Nevada................With there being some 2-3000 Pumas making a living on deer, Gray Wolves(also deer eaters) most likely can also reclaim their historical haunts in the state if they were rewilded there...................Note the following information from the MOUNTAIN LION FOUNDATION discussing Puma habitat in Nevada----Wolves can call this same ground home if given the opportunity-----"The state of Nevada encompasses 109,826 miles of land"............... "Of this the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) estimates that approximately 50,000 square miles, roughly 45 percent of the state, is suitable mountain lion habitat"............... "Using a 1982 Gap Habitat Analysis map to ascertain the amount and location of mountain lion habitat in each of Nevada's 29 Game Management Units (GMUs), MLF researchers estimate that there is closer to 55,891 square miles of suitable mountain lion habitat in the state"............ "Nevada's mountain lion habitat is distributed throughout all the mountain ranges in the state".............. "According to NDOW, "The mountain lion's habitat ranges from desert, chaparral and badlands to sub-alpine mountain and tropical rain forests".............. "In Nevada, mountain lions are most likely found in areas of pinion pine, juniper, mountain mahogany, ponderosa pine and mountain brush"(We call on Nevada to encourage the return of the wolf to these same habitat regions)

Nature Notes: Wolf myth: We will not allow wolves in Nevada

15 hours ago  •  

The myth goes like this: wolves will never live in Nevada, specifically Elko County. We simply will not allow it. We will kill any wolves that dare enter Nevada.
Russell Woolstenhulme is a Nevada Department of Wildlife biologist with the state office. He told me the gray wolf is still listed as an endangered species by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in all lower 48 states other than Idaho, Wyoming, Montana and the Great Lakes states where wolves are already delisted. However, the FWS has posted a letter of intent in the Federal Register to delist the gray wolf in all lower-48 states other than those having the Mexican gray wolf and red wolf species.

Nevada has listed the gray wolf as a big game species, but with a closed season. It is illegal to kill a wolf in Nevada. When asked if someone would be prosecuted for shooting a wolf mistaken for a coyote, Russell said someone might get away with it once but such a kill would bring on an investigation by a FWS Special Agent. It is illegal to kill a wolf attacking ones livestock, (unless the FWS delists wolves in the future).  In the meantime, someone losing livestock to a wolf could contact Wildlife Services to investigate.  They are the Federal Agency with authority to remove such wolves.
Russell said “we probably get wolves wandering in and out of Nevada.” Most likely any wolves are wandering through northeastern Elko County. NDOW has received several reports of wolf sightings but still none with verifiable photos or carcasses. Neither has there been recovered wolf scat or wolf hair clinging to a fence.

He feels it is possible, but not probable, that a wolf pack or two could establish in Elko County. We do not (yet) have the prey base to support a wolf pack. Our large elk herds are still far smaller than those supporting wolf packs in Idaho. If the gray wolf should be delisted in Nevada, he does not feel there would ever be enough wolves to hold wolf hunts.
Ken Gray is the regional game supervisor for the Nevada Department of Wildlife’s Elko office. He said “I have no doubt there are wolves that have crossed into Nevada,” but there still remains no positive proof. NDOW conducts a lot of flights counting elk and has never spotted a wolf. Ken also says they have seen no evidence of wolves being killed and left.

Russell and Ken feel wolves in Nevada will likely remain young wolves wandering through. Idaho has found it difficult to control a wolf population of about 700 with hunts. They have found trapping is more reliable to reduce wolf numbers. Finding and shooting a few wandering wolves would probably be impossible. It appears to me we may always have a few wolves, regardless of the myth.

Nevada wolves extinct, 

yet still 'endangered'

Federal agency won't remove animal from the protected list