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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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Sunday, October 20, 2019

"The Yellowstone Wolf Project reporting that at the end of 2018, some 80 Wolves exist in Yellowstone National Park, within the average 83-108 population count over the most recent 2009-17 period".............."Wolves preyed on 95 elk (62.9%), 25 bison (16.6%), 11 mule deer (7.3%), 3 deer of unknown species (2.0%), 2 coyotes (3.0%), 2 pronghorn (1.3%), 1 grizzly bear (0.6%), 1 mountain lion (0.6%), and 11 unidentifiabled animals (7.3%)".........."The composition of wolf-killed elk was: 22.1% calves, 6.3% yearlings, 22.1% adults"............."No major disease epidemic adversely impacted Yellowstone Wolves in 2018"

The 2018 Yellowstone Wolf Project Report

There were at least 80 wolves in 9 packs (7 breeding pairs) living primarily in Yellowstone National Park (YNP) at the end of December 2018. Overall, wolf numbers uctuated little from 2009 to 2017 (83-108 wolves) but dropped slightly this year, particularly in the interior of Yellowstone. It is worth noting that there were two packs (Snake River and Huckleberry) which occasionally utilized the southern portion of Yellowstone but were not included in the population estimate (see wolf pack summaries). Breeding pairs (de ned as an adult male and an adult female with at least two pups that survive through the end of the year) remained consistent with the historical average. Pack size in 2018 ranged from 3 to 19, averaging 8.7 in size. Park-wide, 24 pups survived to year end, split between northern Yellowstone (12) and the interior (12) of the Park.

Pup Survival
Each year sta attempt to establish early pup counts at dens by either observing wolves from the ground through spotting scopes or, more often, taking photos of the den area during tracking ights. Early pup counts for each pack generally be- gin in late May and early June when pups are more consis- tently outside of den holes. For some packs whose densites are unknown or di cult to observe, we do not get pup counts until the pups are moved to a rendezvous site in late summer or early fall. This year the Wolf Project documented at least 38 pups born to eight di erent packs. Once again we were able to get exceptionally early counts from the Junction Butte pack ( rst pup sighting was May 7th of two pups only ~15 days old) but most pup counts were much later in the year. Both the Junction Butte (11 pups from 3 litters) and Wapiti Lake (7 pups from 2 litters) packs produced multiple litters. Of the minimum 38 pups produced in all packs, 24 (63.2%) pups survived to the end of the year.

  Wolf-Prey Relationships
Project sta detected 151 kills that were defnitely, probably, or possibly made by wolves in 2018: 95 elk (62.9%), 25 bison (16.6%), 11 mule deer (7.3%), 3 deer of unknown species (2.0%), 2 coyotes (3.0%), 2 pronghorn (1.3%), 1 grizzly bear (0.6%), 1 mountain lion (0.6%), and 11 unidenti ed animals (7.3%). The composition of wolf-killed elk was: 22.1% calves, 6.3% yearlings, 22.1% adult females, 37.9% adult males, 3.2% adults of unknown sex, and 8.4% of unknown sex and age. Wolf predation was monitored intensively for two months of the year – one month in early winter (mid-November to mid-December), one month in late winter (March). In re- cent years predation studies have included three months in spring-summer (May-July) but that study was not done in 2018. The type of prey killed by wolves varied by time period, but consisted primarily of elk. 

There was no evidence of any major disease mortality. Mange was present in several coyotes and foxes in or near the park boundary but was not recorded in any wolves in 2018. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

The Cook County Coyote Project is a comprehensive study of coyotes in Chicago metropolitan areas. Also known as the Urban Coyote Research Program, the study was initiated in 2000 as a non-biased attempt to address shortcomings in urban coyote ecology information and management; the Coyote Project is still underway"..............."Chicago's Urban Coyote Study revealing that Coyotes in Chicago and environs mate only once per year in the late winter, with peak season right around Valentines -Day"..............."If mating is successful, 4-12 pups arrive 60 days later in Late April-early May"..............."Newborn pups in the Chicago area generally have a 60% chance of surviving one year, with most living only 3 years"…………."The oldest Coyote in this region is known to have lived to age 11"................"Coyotes are not only monogamous, they are life-long mates".............."This means that once coyotes say “I do” they remain mated until death do them part".............."One mated pair in the “Windy City” produced pups for 10 continuous years"..............."Diet includes rodents (42%), fruit (23%), deer (22%), and rabbit (18%)"............."The majority of coyotes in Chicago area do not rely on pets or garbage for food"..................."25-35 pounds is the typical weight for Coyotes in Chicago".........."Coyotes in a pack share a territory, which they defend together"............."In Cook County, pack coyotes have smaller territories than solitary coyotes, averaging less than 2 square miles (4.95 km2) but as large as 4.3 square miles (11.1km2)".............."Solitary coyotes, also sometimes known as transient coyotes, are those coyotes that do not yet belong to a pack and therefore do not have a territory that they defend. In Cook County, solitary coyotes range over much larger areas and have home ranges averaging 10 square miles (26.8 km2)"
Chicago Urban Coyote Research

Learning about love from Chicago’s urban Coyotes

Thursday, October 10, 2019

"Bobcats have made a serious comeback in the United States"..................."A 2010 study estimated a US bobcat population of roughly 2.3 million to almost 3.6 million, as much as triple their population in the 1980s"................"Relying on data from 2016, the IUCN says the bobcat population is stable with no major threat to their survival"................."A 2011 survey looked at bobcat populations in 48 states, 7 Canadian provinces and Mexico, finding that bobcat populations have grown everywhere except for Florida".........."Like coyotes, bobcats have shown themselves capable of adapting, even thriving among humans"............As with Pumas, Coyotes, Foxes, Lynx, Wolves and Bears--"The leading cause of death among bobcats(carniovres) is feline scabies, which has been linked to anticoagulant rat poisons"............."If a bobcat eats a poisoned rat, there’s a strong likelihood that the cat will die as well"

10-08-2019; Zach Fitzner

Bobcats prove resilient in the face of human development

It’s easy to look at the loss of wildlife across the United States and feel despair. Grizzly bears, bison, and wolves live on a tiny fraction of their former range with pitifully small populations. Passenger pigeons that once filled our skies as living, moving clouds of feathered beings are gone forever. 
Stretching back towards the beginning of human occupation in North America, we’ve lost the mastodon, woolly rhinoceros, and giant ground sloths. Despite their popularity from Game of Thrones, dire wolves are also extinct. 
But there is still plenty of life on Earth, and in North America in particular, to celebrate. Despite centuries as the object of violence, coyotes still live in the United States in enormous numbers. And despite being mismanaged, fought over, and used as political pawns, there are still some wolves, bison and grizzly bears. There are also smaller wild animals that quietly adapt to the changes in their environments and live near us without being given much notice.

Bobcats (Lynx rufus) have indeed shown to be resilient in the face of a rapidly changing landscape. Bobcats live in every state of the contiguous United States except Delaware, as well as southern Canada and much of Mexico. The bobcat has adapted to numerous habitats across that range from deserts to wetlands to cold northern forests. According to the International Society for Endangered Cats, bobcats are the most successful of North Americas wild cats.
Humans are still one of the major threats to bobcats, as humans hunt them, destroy their habitat, and accidentally kill them with cars and rat poison. One study showed that the leading cause of death among bobcats is feline scabies, which has been linked to anticoagulant rat poisons. If a bobcat eats a poisoned rat, there’s a strong likelihood that the cat will die as well. 
Bobcat furs also lead the industry in feline skins with an average of 29,772 skins exported annually from the US between 2000 and 2006.  Because the human population is constantly on the rise, bobcats have had to contend more and more with our species. What was once wild habitat has increasingly become backyards, farmland, or golf courses. Because of these threats, conservation laws have protected bobcats throughout their range, with hunting being managed in 38 states, 7 Canadian provinces, and Mexico. The cats for their part have proven their ability to not only live but thrive near and in human dominated landscapes. 
Much of the bobcat’s success comes from the abundance of their prey base. Bobcats mainly feed on rabbits and hares, small herbivorous mammals in no shortage almost anywhere in the US. Walk around a city park, there’s probably one of those little rabbits hiding somewhere under a bush nibbling on grass. They visit our lawns and they do well in the deserts, prairies, forests and wetlands outside of city areas as well. Besides their preferred food, bobcats are also flexible, eating lizards, small rodents, birds, snakes, roadkill. Bobcats have even been known to rarely kill a deer. 
Another part of bobcat’s success is that they’re inconspicuous. Like urban coyotes, bobcats are mainly active at night, although they can adjust their schedule a bit depending on the local conditions. In urban areas bobcats are especially nocturnal. Bobcats also move around a lot to avoid being caught by a predator and to find their own prey. 
In Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, California, a male bobcat’s home range is typically 3.2 square miles. Females move around less with a typical home range of about 1.5 square miles. Of course, the home range of bobcats vary depending on the habitat. 
Bobcats find temporary dens to rest in during the day and often move to a new den the next day, rarely staying in one spot for very long. Mother bobcats will often create several dens when they are about to have kittens. The mother then moves her kittens from one den to the next. Moving around like this, especially at night is one of the reasons bobcats are easily missed, even if they live in close proximity to humans.

Recently, a photographer published a photo essay following a mother bobcat that raised her kittens beneath the porch of a house in western Texas. This is one example of a bobcat adapting to a new way of living, raising her cubs in the shade of a house during the day and hunting in the scrublands surrounding the house at dusk and dawn. 
Bobcats have been known to hunt at backyard bird feeders and eat roadkill along city streets. An article from 2017 reported that bobcats have made homes in Manchester, New Hampshire, Waverly, Iowa and just outside of Los Angeles. One wildlife photographer claims based on his own observations that almost every neighborhood in the greater Dallas Fort Worth area is home to bobcats.
Indeed, bobcats have made a serious comeback in the United States. A 2010 study estimated a US bobcat population of roughly 2.3 million to almost 3.6 million, as much as triple their population in the 1980s. Relying on data from 2016, the IUCN says the bobcat population is stable with no major threat to their survival. A 2011 survey looked at bobcat populations in 48 states, 7 Canadian provinces and Mexico, finding that bobcat populations have grown everywhere except for Florida. Like coyotes, bobcats have shown themselves capable of adapting, even thriving among humans.
Despite the successful recovery of bobcats from their lowest populations, it’s still worth remembering that although the cats are cunning and adaptable, they still rely on us to allow them to live. The fur trade if not well managed can threaten bobcats, rat poisons still cause the deaths of bobcats, and other predators. For now bobcats are thriving, but that success depends on food, water, places to live either in the wild or in more urban environments. The question for the future is whether humans will be happy to see bobcats living among them or if they will be treated as a nuisance like pigeons, coyotes or prairie dogs?

Thursday, October 3, 2019

"Power lines corridors, long considered eyesores or worse, a potential threat to human health, actually serve a vital role in maintaining the health of a significant population of plants and wildlife"............."Particularly in regions with high human population density, the power lines are vital to the conservation of hundreds of species"..............."These swaths of open, scrubby landscapes support species often absent in adjacent forests"..........."Rare butterflies, birds and bees thrive in these sunny openings which are also utilized by coyotes, foxes, Pumas, wolves, bobcats and lynx".............."This early successional open forest habitat includes old pastures, fields and beaver meadows where grasses, small shrubs and trees grow"..........."Separated by a mere 30 feet, transmission line corridors can hold 10 times the number of bees and twice the number of bee species as adjacent woodlands"............."Through urban and suburban areas, transmission line corridors could prove to be the only undeveloped native communities through which wildlife might disperse safely"

New England power line corridors harbor rare bees and other wild things

But ecologically, the swaths of open, scrubby landscapes under  support a rich and complex menagerie of life, absent in the woodlands and forests that bound them.
In New England, where my co-author and I are based, these corridors sustain native animals and migrating birds and insects including dozens of bees, one of which is so rare it was thought to have been lost decades ago from the United States.
My colleagues and I have walked power line corridors for more than three decades, recording the butterflies, birds and bees that thrive in these sunny openings. I was drawn to them when I began working at the University of Connecticut. Often with my young daughter in tow, I would walk there to see plants and wildlife that were absent from the forests that dominated New England.

During the summer of 2017, I and a team of researchers including bee experts and undergraduate students surveyed bee communities at 27 randomly selected sites along an 89-mile transmission line corridor spanning three New England states from Connecticut to New Hampshire. Each site contained a pair of sister plots, one within the corridor and the other within the adjacent forest. This allowed us to directly answer the question: Which provides better habitat for bees, corridor or forest?
What used to be there
The decline of New England farming in the 20th century dramatically diminished the open acreage of what we ecologists call early successional habitat, which provided unique plants and cover for wildlife. Successional habitat is land like old pastures, fields and beaver meadows where grasses, small shrubs and trees grow. In New England, for example, they contribute to the persistence and resilience of many species such as spadefoot toads, box turtles, New England cottontails and birds like towhees.
More than half of state-protected plant and  in New England are thought to be dependent on the early successional habitats commonly found along transmission line corridors for feeding, nesting or mating.

Making a beeline for nectar
Despite being separated at times by a mere 30 feet, forests and transmission line corridors differ tremendously. In a recent study, we found that the sunny, open corridors held nearly 10 times the number of bees and twice the number of bee species as compared to forested plots, where nectar becomes scarce by the end of May.
The diversity of bees found along the corridor was eye-opening. More than 200 species of wild pollinators, half the known species for the entire New England region, were buzzing around the 27 survey plots.
In doing research over many years, our team made collections of two of the most seldom seen bees in North America, both legally protected in one or more New England states, including the silver-and-black haired bee Epeoloides pilosula. Until a decade ago, this species was believed to have been eliminated from the region until it was rediscovered first in Nova Scotia in 2002, and then along a power line corridor in Connecticut in 2006.

In addition to Epeoloides, New England's transmission line corridors harbor populations of more than 200 state-protected plants, insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals.
One of these is the fetching Karner blue butterfly, which was named by Vladimir Nabokov, the famous Russian novelist and poet. The caterpillars of this butterfly feed only on lupine, also known as blue bonnets to Texans, a wildflower that thrives along some power line corridors. The sky- is imperiled across its range and, as such, receives protection under the federal Endangered Species Act.
The iconic monarch butterfly, which has been in steep decline across North America, is also a denizen of these rights-of-way. The open sunny conditions are favorable for the larval food plant milkweed, upon which monarchs lay their eggs, and the abundant blooming goldenrods along the power line corridors that provide nectar for the Mexico-bound migrating adults each fall.

One surprising finding from our recent study was that there is no single ecological factor that made a site along the corridor better for bees.
Our research group tested for associations between pollinator diversity and more than a dozen ecological factors that we thought should relate to bee species richness and abundance, including the diversity of plants at each site and whether or not the land was managed with herbicides.
We found that one can locate or create high-diversity pollinator habitats in any New England state as long as the land is managed to maintain an open canopy and has a sweep of nectar resources.
Where the wild things grow
We no longer live in a world where nature and humans are separate.
While many lament that power line cuts mar an area's aesthetics, these corridors harbor a gamut of beautiful creatures—ranging from the blue fritillary butterfly, the multicolored tiger beetle and a rich array of metallic blue and green bees. The avian life that is found in these corridors is noteworthy, too – indigo buntingeastern bluebirdprairie warblerblue-winged warbler and yellow-breasted chat.

ower line corridors are examples of the coexistence between the needs of humans and nature. These rights-of-way may play a special role in the future as migration corridors for plants and wildlife that need to relocate as a consequence of climate changes. Through urban and suburban areas, transmission line corridors could prove to be the only undeveloped native communities through which wildlife might disperse safely.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

"As we all know, Gray wolves seek out large hoofed browsers such as elk, moose, bison, deer and caribou".............."A healthy set of teeth is essential for these predators to kill, eat and defend themselves"........ "As a result, they tend to avoid biting down on tough body parts, such as bones, so that their teeth do not break"............"Broken teeth cannot heal, so carnivores are not going to chew on bones and risk breaking their teeth unless they have to"................"If food becomes scarce however, the wolves may resort to consuming bones, eating more of the carcasses, leading to more damaged teeth".............."It is therefore possible to assess the food levels available to existing wolf populations based on how many broken teeth the animals have".............What must also be factored in to this analysis is the age of the Wolf pack members, as older individuals are also more likely to have more damaged teeth"

September 24, 2019
University of California - Los Angeles

What wolves' broken teeth reveal about their lives

Biologist links an increase in fractured teeth to a dwindling supply of prey

UCLA evolutionary biologist Blaire Van Valkenburgh has spent more than three decades studying the skulls of many species of large carnivores -- including wolves, lions and tigers -- that lived from 50,000 years ago to the present. She reports today in the journal eLife the answer to a puzzling question.
Essential to the survival of these carnivores is their teeth, which are used for securing their prey and chewing it, yet large numbers of these animals have broken teeth. Why is that, and what can we learn from it?
In the research, Van Valkenburgh reports a strong link between an increase in broken teeth and a decline in the amount of available food, as large carnivores work harder to catch dwindling numbers of prey, and eat more of it, down to the bones.

"Broken teeth cannot heal, so most of the time, carnivores are not going to chew on bones and risk breaking their teeth unless they have to," said Van Valkenburgh, a UCLA distinguished professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, who holds the Donald R. Dickey Chair in Vertebrate Biology.
For the new research, Van Valkenburgh studied the skulls of gray wolves -- 160 skulls of adult wolves housed in the Yellowstone Heritage and Research Center in Montana; 64 adult wolf skulls from Isle Royale National Park in Lake Superior that are housed at Michigan Technological University; and 94 skulls from Scandinavia, collected between 1998 and 2010, housed in the Swedish Royal Museum of Natural History in Stockholm. She compared these with the skulls of 223 wolves that died between 1874 and 1952, from Alaska, Texas, New Mexico, Idaho and Canada.
Yellowstone had no wolves, Van Valkenburgh said, between the 1920s and 1995, when 31 gray wolves were brought to the national park from British Columbia. About 100 wolves have lived in Yellowstone for more than a decade, she said.
In Yellowstone, more than 90% of the wolves' prey are elk. The ratio of elk to wolves has declined sharply, from more than 600-to-1 when wolves were brought back to the national park to about 100-to-1 more recently.

In the first 10 years after the reintroduction, the wolves did not break their teeth much and did not eat the elk completely, Van Valkenburgh reports. In the following 10 years, as the number of elk declined, the wolves ate more of the elk's body, and the number of broken teeth doubled, including the larger teeth wolves use when hunting and chewing.
The pattern was similar in the island park of Isle Royale. There, the wolves' prey are primarily adult moose, but moose numbers are low and their large size makes them difficult to capture and kill. Isle Royale wolves had high frequencies of broken and heavily worn teeth, reflecting the fact that they consumed about 90% of the bodies of the moose they killed.
Scandinavian wolves presented a different story. The ratio of moose to wolves is nearly 500-to-1 in Scandinavia and only 55-to-1 in Isle Royale, and, consistent with Van Valkenburgh's hypothesis, Scandinavian wolves consumed less of the moose they killed (about 70%) than Isle Royale wolves. Van Valkenburgh did not find many broken teeth among the Scandinavian wolves. "The wolves could find moose easily, not eat the bones, and move on," she said.
Van Valkenburgh believes her findings apply beyond gray wolves, which are well-studied, to other large carnivores, such as lions, tigers and bears.
Extremely high rates of broken teeth have been recorded for large carnivores -- such as lions, dire wolves and saber-toothed cats -- from the Pleistocene epoch, dating back tens of thousands of years, compared with their modern counterparts, Van Valkenburgh said. Rates of broken teeth from animals at the La Brea Tar Pits were two to four times higher than in modern animals, she and colleagues reported in the journal Science in the 1990s.
"Our new study suggests that the cause of this tooth fracture may have been more intense competition for food in the past than in present large carnivore communities," Van Valkenburgh said.
She and colleagues reported in 2015 that violent attacks by packs of some of the world's largest carnivores -- including lions much larger than those of today and saber-toothed cats -- went a long way toward shaping ecosystems during the Pleistocene.
In a 2016 article in the journal BioScience, Van Valkenburgh and more than 40 other wildlife experts wrote that preventing the extinction of lions, tigers, wolves, bears, elephants and the world's other largest mammals will require bold political action and financial commitments from nations worldwide.
Discussing the new study, she said, "We want to understand the factors that increase mortality in large carnivores that, in many cases, are near extinction. Getting good information on that is difficult. Studying tooth fracture is one way to do so, and can reveal changing levels of food stress in big carnivores."
The research was funded by the National Science Foundation and National Park Service.
Journal Reference:
  1. Blaire Van Valkenburgh, Rolf O Peterson, Douglas W Smith, Daniel R Stahler, John A Vucetich. Tooth fracture frequency in gray wolves reflects prey availabilityeLife, 2019; 8 DOI: 10.7554/eLife.48628

Friday, September 20, 2019

"A new study finds US and Canada have lost more than 1 in 4 birds in the past 50 years"............. "Hardest hit are sparrows, warblers, finches, and swallows who are critical in ecosystem seed dispersal and pest control"............"The major factor driving these declines is loss and degradation of habitat, due to agricultural intensification and urbanization"..........."Other bird-killers include domestic cats; collisions with glass, buildings, windmills and solar farms, deforestation and pesticides"

New study finds US and Canada have lost more than 1 in 4 birds in the past 50 years

The study notes that birds are indicators of environmental health, signaling that natural systems across the U.S. and Canada are now being so severely impacted by human activities that they no longer support the same robust wildlife populations.
The findings showed that of nearly 3 billion birds lost, 90 percent belong to 12 bird families, including sparrows, warblers, finches, and swallows—common, widespread species that play influential roles in food webs and ecosystem functioning, from seed dispersal to pest control.

Among the steep declines noted:
  • Grassland birds are especially hard hit, with a 53 percent reduction in population—more than 720 million birds—since 1970.
  • Shorebirds, most of which frequent sensitive coastal habitats, were already at dangerously low numbers and have lost more than one-third of their population.
  • The volume of spring migration, measured by radar in the night skies, has dropped by 14 percent in just the past decade.
  • the largest factor driving these declines is likely the widespread loss and degradation of habitat, especially due to agricultural intensification and urbanization.
  • Other studies have documented mortality from predation by free-roaming domestic cats; collisions with glass, buildings, and other structures; and pervasive use of pesticides associated with widespread declines in insects, an essential food source for birds. Climate change is expected to compound these challenges by altering habitats and threatening plant communities that birds need to survive. More research is needed to pinpoint primary causes for declines in individual species.

  • The study also documents a few promising rebounds resulting from galvanized human efforts. Waterfowl (ducks, geese, and swans) have made a remarkable recovery over the past 50 years, made possible by investments in conservation by hunters and billions of dollars of government funding for wetland protection and restoration. Raptors such as the Bald Eagle have also made spectacular comebacks since the 1970s, after the harmful pesticide DDT was banned and recovery efforts through endangered species legislation in the U.S. and Canada provided critical protection.
    "It's a wake-up call that we've lost more than a quarter of our birds in the U.S. and Canada," said coauthor Adam Smith from Environment and Climate Change Canada. "But the crisis reaches far beyond our individual borders. Many of the birds that breed in Canadian backyards migrate through or spend the winter in the U.S. and places farther south—from Mexico and the Caribbean to Central and South America. What our birds need now is an historic, hemispheric effort that unites people and organizations with one common goal: bringing our birds back."
  • More information: K.V. Rosenberg el al., "Decline of the North American avifauna," Science (2019). … 1126/science.aaw1313
    Journal information: Science 

Monday, September 16, 2019

As we have reviewed many times in the past, research has revealed that hunting cougars or thinning their numbers as a method of wildlife management can actually increase the number of young male cats on the landscape, upping the likelihood of those inexperienced felids getting into conflicts with people and livestock"..................Reiterating this finding-----“There is evidence that densities of young, dispersing cougars are likely to be comparatively high where local densities of resident adults have been depressed by hunting, as long as other nearby and less-heavily exploited areas serve as sources of dispersers from other meta-populations".................."Under such a scenario, heavy localized hunting of older cougars could increase rather than reduce exposure of people to close-threatening encounters with cougars".............."Additionally, sport hunting of cougars to benefit wild ungulate populations is not supported by the scientific literature"..............…"Any effort to control cougars should be part of an effort that addresses all factors impacting the ungulate population"..............."Finally, the odds of increased complaints and livestock depredations increased dramatically (36% to 240%) with increased cougar harvest"

Monday, September 9, 2019

Orca Killer Whales from the Eastern Tropical Pacific Ocean are rarely spotted off of the southern California coast............But this summer, a pod of the Orca's were seen first hand chasing and getting a dolphin calf meal for their efforts..........Like a pack of Wolves on land, Killer whales are among the world's fastest-moving marine mammals"............."They are capable of clocking speeds over 30 miles (48 kilometres) per hour (an impressive feat when you consider that they can weigh up to 11 tons!)".............."The black-and-white predators are armed with a mouth full of large, interlocking teeth and are highly intelligent and social – which makes them particularly efficient hunters"..........."When it comes to elusive and agile common dolphins, the hunt often sees killer whales teaming up in a coordinated attack and pursuing their quarry at high speed".............Click the link below to witness first hand the teamwork and persistence of Orca Whale pods

Orca Whales hunting Dolphins(video-click to view)

Incredible aerial footage shows orcas hunting down a dolphin

Incredible aerial footage shows orcas hunting down a dolphin
BY EARTH TOUCH NEWS AUGUST 06 2019Whale watchers off the coast of Orange County recently witnessed firsthand the hunting prowess of killer whales when a pod, believed to belong to a population from the Eastern Tropical Pacific that is rarely seen in waters around California, dispatched a dolphin calf after a high-speed chase. Photographer Matt Larmand witnessed the hunt from a Dana Wharf Whale Watching boat and used a drone to capture amazing aerial footage of the actionOrca with its Dolphin catch
The orcas were initially spotted cruising up the coast towards Orange County, but things heated up when they narrowed in on a pod of common dolphins. "It was surprising to me with what persistence they chased this dolphin pod,” Newport Coastal Adventure owner Ryan Lawler told The Mercury News. "They chased it for two miles at a constant pace – like wolves chasing down their prey, trying to tire their prey out."

Killer whales are among the world's fastest-moving marine mammals, capable of clocking speeds over 30 miles (48 kilometres) per hour (an impressive feat when you consider that they can weigh up to 11 tons!). The black-and-white predators are armed with a mouth full of large, interlocking teeth and are highly intelligent and social – which makes them particularly efficient killers.

For the moment, a Dolphin eluding an Orca

Hunting tactics are typically defined by what's on the menu: schools of fish are snared in a net of bubbles from below, while sharks are likely rammed and then their bodies torn open just below the pectoral fin so the orcas can hoover up their nutrient-rich livers. But when it comes to nippy and agile common dolphins, the hunt often sees killer whales teaming up in a coordinated attack and pursuing their quarry at high speed.
"They went after that [dolphin] baby. I guess that was an easier target," Larmand recalls. "They’d come from different directions, they were corralling it and getting it to go in the direction they wanted it to go. They knew exactly what they were doing and how to do it. It was crazy to watch."

A large pod of Orcas

Whale-watching guides and marine researchers identified the orcas as belonging to a group usually found in the Eastern Tropical Pacific (ETP) and – according to Alisa Schulman-Janiger, co-founder of the California Killer Whale Project – it's unusual to encounter them at this time of the year. ETPs usually hang out in waters off Mexico or Costa Rica and turn up occasionally in California from November through January when the water is a bit warmer, she explains.
Schulman-Janiger will be analysing photos in an attempt to identify the individuals, but she suspects that this group is not the same one that turned up in town late last year. Not much is known about ETP orcas, but marine mammals do seem to make up, at least, part of their diet.