Sunday, December 21, 2014
THE WISCONSIN DEER RESEARCH STUDIES ANNUAL REPORT 2013-14 was just published on December 10............It stated that during this past year, 133 adult and juvenile deer in the northern and eastern part of the state were radio collared along with 50 "holdover" deer from the past three years of the project ...........As we heard last year from this same team of Researchers(Wiconsin DNR and, U. of Wisconsin), human hunting accounts for 67% of adult deer and 33% of juvenile deer mortality in the northern sections of the state.................In the east, 70% of adult bucks and 50% of juvenile deaths were human hunter caused.............The health of deer habitat is a crucial factor in fawn survival percentages as one would expect.............More food on the ground, the stronger the fawns, the better equipped they are to avoid predation.....................The 2013 fawn data showed 45% survival through six months in the north and 58% survival in the east........... The leading cause of fawn mortality in the north was bobcat predation (25%), hunter harvest (19%), bear predation (12%), coyote predation (12%), unknown predator (12%) and wolf predation, poaching and road kill (6% each).............In the east, starvation (47%) was the leading cause of fawn mortality, followed by disease (21%), coyote predation (10%) and domestic dog, hunter harvest, unrecovered harvest and bobcat (5% each)................And of course, when winters are severe, as they were in 2013-14 in northern Wisconsin, Deer die often.............From Jan-May 2014, , 52% of juvenile deer died in the northern study area(the most severe winter winter since records kept in this state).............. That contrasts with the eastern study area(less severe winter weather), where 14% of juvenile deer died over the same time period.
Posted by Rick Meril at 8:43 PM
New Jersey, North Carolina and Florida State Game Commissions---Take heed of what is happening in Montana where theh town of BIG SKY is providing residents with bear proof garbage cans so as to cut down on bear/human conflicts.................As all who read this blog know, human food habituation for bears, wolves, coyotes and in fact nearly all carnivores leads to the death of those animals and problems for us humans........We could reduce the killing quotas and have more wildlife on the land doing their good part to keep it healthy if we would do our part in the food/garbage disposal aspect of our daily lives
Big Sky homeowners buy bear-aware garbage containers
When it comes to being bear aware, Big Sky is more than halfway there.
This week, thanks to homeowners associations, a sanitation company and the Wildlife Conservation Society, a second cluster of bear-proof garbage containers were delivered to Big Sky homeowners.
So far, Republic Services, a regional sanitation company, has distributed Kodiac-brand containers to 325 homes. By the time they’re finished, 60 percent of Big Sky residents will have made it more difficult for bears to scrounge through their garbage.
“Our goal is to get to 100 percent,” said WCS scientist Kris Inman. “Since the order of containers was so big, it had to happen in three shipments. The second shipment came at the beginning of December so it’s a slow rollout. But that’s OK because the bears are sleeping.”
Black bears have always wandered through Big Sky and the surrounding area. In recent years, they’ve been joined by grizzly bears as the grizzly bear population in Yellowstone National Park has grown and expanded.
That means more bears could come into conflict with Big Sky’s growing population if people aren’t aware of the things that attract bears, such as fruit trees, pet food, bird feeders, and of course, easily accessible garbage.
Human-bear conflicts have already tripled in the past 20 years, Inman said.
In 2013, a dozen black bears ran into problems in the Big Sky area. Nine were relocated, two were hit by vehicles, and one was shot illegally.
In the worst case, if bears become habituated to human food, agencies have to kill them.
But as more people became aware, they formed the Bear Smart Big Sky Council in early 2013 to address the problem and WCS facilitated the effort.
Initially, the transition to bear-proof cans was voluntary and eventually 20 percent of the community signed up.
Then the Big Sky, Town Center and Spanish Peaks homeowners associations voted to join the effort.
Republic Services made an initial capital investment of $300,000 to purchase Kodiac bear-proof containers, which resemble the regular blue garbage containers but have lid catches that bears can’t open.
“They worked really hard at getting the lowest rate possible for folks to change over to bear-proof cans. So depending on the service, it will add anywhere between $4 and $6 to their monthly fee.”
Jason Beach of Republic Services said the benefit of the Kodiac containers is their high-tech, lightweight construction that allows drivers to dump them automatically using adapted trucks.
“There’s a benefit to us because it keeps our drivers safe. In the past, a few drivers have come up on bears at the garbage cans. The Kodiacs have about a 70-percent dump success rate so drivers don’t have to get out,” Beach said. “This is the first time a community approached us and we try to stay responsive to the community.”
Inman knows that bear-proof garbage cans won’t help if people don’t use them properly. Sometimes people overfill them, forget to lock them or allow food stains and debris to build up on the outside.
So the Bear Smart Council will continue to educate people.
“Trash is the No. 1 attractant for bears. The hope is that we’ll see a reduction in conflicts once less trash is available,” Inman said. “Where there’s success with bears, it’s been community-led, and that’s what’s happened here.”
Posted by Rick Meril at 8:10 PM
Saturday, December 20, 2014
With Wolves, Bears, Wolverines and Lynx on the rebound in Europe, Researchers are making the case that even in people dominated small landscapes, Carnivores can adapt to human presence and fulfill their historical ecosystem services benefits to the land............114 years ago at the turn of the 20th century, large carnivores had been exterminated from most of Europe, with just relict populations persisting............Contrast that today in 2014 when we have increasing or stable populations of brown bears, wolves, Eurasian lynx and wolverines sharing the land with humans........And they do not live in a remote wilderness but rather are showing an ability to adapt to human-dominated landscapes..............As a point of fact, Europe has twice as many wolves as the USA (excluding Alaska) in spite of being half the size and more than twice as densely populated
Europe shows that humans and large
predators can share the same landscape
December 19, 2014
Posted by Rick Meril at 10:43 PM
Rachel Tilseth's blog, WOLVES OF DOUGLAS COUNTY WISCONSIN.COM put forth an excellent follow up on the Federal Court's decision to put Wolves back on the Endangered Species List in the Great Lakes States..........Rachel cites the fine work of THE HUMANE SOCIETY, THE CENTER FOR BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY, HELP OUR WOLVES LIVE, FRIENDS OF ANIMALS AND THEIR ENVIRONMENT and BORN FREE USA in making the case to the D.C. Federal Judge that Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan were severely off course in their KILLING PARADIGMS for Wolves as they took control of their management upon Federal Delisting two years ago...........Every once in a while, sane thinking, best science and just plain common sense is the basis for our Courts decision making................I cheer and applaud their commentary: “In its 111-page ruling, the court chided the USFWS for failing to explain why it ignored the potential for further recovery of wolves into areas of its historic range that remain viable habitat for the species".............. "The court also noted that the USFWS has failed to explain how the “virtually unregulated” killing of wolves by states in the Great Lakes region does not constitute a continued threat to the species"
Posted by Rick Meril at 10:21 PM