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

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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Thought it appropriate to follow up on yesterdays Post regarding the YELLOWSTONE TO YUKON CONSERVATION INITIATIVE with a further overview of the WILDLANDS PROJECT "REWILDING NORTH AMERICA" goal of establishing at least four megalinkages, allowing Americas wildlife to roam, procreate and fulfill their ecosystem functions, making life richer and healthier for all living creatures including us human animals

Return of the Wild

Will humans make
 way for the greatest
experiment in centuries?
John Davis was roughly 5,500 miles into his 2011 trek from Southern Florida to the Gaspe Peninsula in Quebec when he passed through the Adirondack Mountains, where he has lived for the last 18 years. He spent a couple of days sailing and hiking around the southern shore of Lake Champlain, including the Split Rock Wild Forest. The 4,000-acre bloc of state forest land is the centerpiece of what Davis hopes will one day be a wildlife corridor – the “Split Rock Wildway” – linking Lake Champlain with the Adirondack High Peaks farther west. Once complete, the wildway would encompass about 12,000 acres. But it would be just one small piece of a much larger puzzle that Davis set out to highlight on his 7,000-mile journey. That larger puzzle is called “the Atlantic megalinkage.”
collage artwork depicting a map of North America and animals, a crane lowering a wolf onto the mapillustration Doug Chayka
The megalinkage, if ever created, would be a vast network of wildlife habitats. It would connect eco-regions like the southern coastal plains of Georgia to the Appalachians and the Green Mountains of Vermont and from there to parts of southern Quebec, in the process protecting and allowing for the reintroduction of keystone species. Davis undertook what he called “TrekEast” because he wanted to get the view from the ground – by boat, bike, and foot – of what an eastern wildway might look like. In essence, he wanted to see if it is even possible.
The obstacles to implementing the idea are legion, from the dense network of roads that carve up the East Coast, to the absence of large nature reserves, to the public’s resistance to predators like wolves and cougars once again roaming the woods. But after months of traveling and meeting with conservationists, local officials, and scientists Davis came away “cautiously optimistic that it is still possible to create an eastern wildway.” Optimistic enough to set out again in early 2013 along the arc of the Pacific megalinkage, which would stretch from the Sonoran highlands of Mexico to southern British Colombia.
When he completes TrekWest, Davis will have traveled two of the four megalinkages outlined by Dave Foreman in his 2004 book, Rewilding North America. Along with the spine of the continent and an Arctic/boreal megalinkage, the four wilderness networks comprise what Foreman considers the “minimum requirement” for the re-establishment of North American wildlands. Imagine a series of large protected areas, many of which already exist, held together by a patchwork of corridors that allow for the reintroduction and movement of top predators. The return of predators will, in turn, help the rehabilitation of ecosystems – the grasslands of the Midwest and Western states, for example.
The project’s ambition is a measure of the task at hand: Nothing less than reversing what is known as the sixth great extinction and restoring the planet’s imperiled biodiversity. “Our vision is simple,” wrote Foreman and a group of conservation biologists in a 1992 statement for the Wildlands Project. “We live for the day when Grizzlies in Chihuahua have an unbroken connection to Grizzlies in Alaska; when Gray Wolf populations are continuous from New Mexico to Greenland; when vast unbroken forests and flowing plains again thrive and support pre-Columbian populations of plants and animals; when humans dwell with respect, harmony, and affection for the land; when we come to live no longer as strangers and aliens on this continent.” This grand vision of continental-scale conservation seeks to protect not just specific landscapes (the project of nineteenth- and twentieth-century conservation), but entire ecosystems.

Similar projects are being considered around the world. In the Netherlands, conservation biologists are rewilding a 22-square-mile preserve – the Oostvaardersplassen – with Heck cattle, Konik ponies, and red deer to create a simulacrum of the landscape as it was 13,000 years ago. The European Green Belt, which would extend more than 5,000 miles from the Barents Sea in the north to the Black Sea in the south, is an ambitious attempt to restore the former militarized zones in Eastern Europe. In North America the “Buffalo Commons,” first proposed in the late 1980s, would convert millions of acres of land in the Midwest into native short grass prairie dominated by bison.
These hoped-for ecosystem restorations could be thought of as the inverse of the fever dreams of the atmospheric geoengineers who want to hack the sky. To be sure, they involve human engineering of natural systems – but primarily for the benefit of other species, not humans. Rewilding could be the virtuous expression of the idea of the Anthropocene: a way of taking responsibility for, though not ownership of, natural systems and recognizing that we have a great deal of repair to do.
In her 2009 book, Rewilding the World, Caroline Fraser makes that case. She writes: “For centuries, we have been Shiva, destroyer of worlds, burning forests, poisoning lakes, emptying oceans. Now we are refashioning ourselves as a creator, recovering wastelands and making them whole.”
I net John Davis last June at the entrance to Split Rock Wild Forest and we walked for several hours in the open woods and steep cliffs that overlook Lake Champlain. Split Rock Wild Forest is part of the West Champlain Hills, one of the most biologically diverse ecosystems within the 6-million-acre Adirondack Park. By one estimate it is home to at least 70 plants that are rare or uncommon in northern New York and contains some of the Park’s only oak-hickory-hop hornbeam forests. It is also prime habitat for moose, black bear, bobcat, fishers, river otters, weasels, and beavers. After being nearly driven to extinction, bald eagles have returned. For the past year Davis had been keeping tabs on a nest near Snake Den Harbor, and we hoped to get a glimpse of them.
Like much of the land in the East that is considered desirable for large scale conservation planning, Split Rock Wild Forest is surrounded by a mix of private land, small roads that – despite their gentle appearance – are lethal barriers to wildlife, and homes whose residents must be part of any successful rewilding campaign. Protected areas like the Adirondacks make up just 20 percent of the Atlantic megalinkage, and those areas are heavily fragmented.

“What we really need to do to make this happen is to think outside of protected areas,” says Robert Baldwin, a biologist at Clemson University and co-editor of Landscape-scale Conservation Planning. “No matter where you look you’re going to find about 80 percent of the land cover is owned privately. And it’s in a very complex matrix. Nobody designed the protected area system with habitat connectivity in mind.” Not only is the majority of the land private, but it’s also carved up by millions of miles of roads, from major interstates to primitive logging roads.
There are other obstacles. Decades of fire suppression and habitat loss have altered the dynamics of forests, especially in the Southeast (most notably the longleaf pine forest ecosystem, which once stretched from eastern Texas to Virginia). Many fire dependent species such as the gopher tortoise and native bamboo have suffered catastrophic declines as a result. To bring them back to even a shadow of their former selves, a more natural cycle of fire and regeneration will have to resume. In a similar way the damning of rivers and waterways has disrupted natural flood regimes and riparian habitats in places like the Florida everglades and the coastal plains. Finally, the persistent drumbeat of development, from oil and gas exploration to the construction of second homes, continues to divide the East Coast. Given this backdrop, the idea of rewilding even small parts of the region might seem like pure fantasy.
Rewilding could change how we
relate to the natural world.
But, according to some biologists, there has never been a better time to consider such a proposal. Several trends make the case for an eastern wildway far more practical than it might appear.
The first is the recovery of forests during the last century. By the early 1900s much of the Northeast had been clear-cut, overhunted, and overtrapped, leaving behind a barren environment. Today that picture has been reversed: 33 million of New England’s 42 million acres are forested, an astonishing recovery by any measure. Rural depopulation and the decline of agriculture, the consequences of which are far from certain, also could be leveraged to establish large eco parks. “The landscape is just way more connected now than it was 100 years ago,” Baldwin says. “Generally speaking we would have an easier time now designing and implementing a connected landscape from the Florida Keys to Quebec than we did 100 to 150 years ago.”

The second factor is the rapid growth of conservation easements – the setting aside of private land for conservation purposes, if not for public use – and the proliferation of conservation land trusts (there are now more than 1,700 in the United States) whose primary aim is to expand protected lands. Since 2000, roughly 23 million acres of land have been conserved by state, local, and national land trusts. In New York State alone more than 970,000 acres of land have been conserved in the last five years, a large percentage of that in the Adirondacks.
Split Rock Wildway is a good example of how land trusts, the state, and individual conservationists have come together to establish a wildlife corridor. But even here, in the middle of a Park with a long history of environmental advocacy, it hasn’t been easy. Planning for the Split Rock Wildway began in the mid-1990s and the various groups involved are only about halfway to reaching their goal. Still, Davis sees the Adirondacks as an ideal place to launch a more far reaching rewilding initiative, one that eventually allows for the return of predators like cougars and wolves. He says the Adirondacks could become the Yellowstone of the East.
When Davis and I reached Snake Den Harbor he peered over the edge of a steep cliff and pointed out the eagle’s nest. Three bald eagles were sitting motionless in the late morning sun. Soon the mother, alert to our presence, took flight. In a matter of seconds she was high above the trees, sweeping across the cloudless sky.
After our walk I went back through the blog that Davis kept during his trek. “The Adirondack Park is the wildest landscape in the East,” he wrote, “yet not nearly wild enough.” If the Adirondacks, one of the oldest and best protected chunks of land in North America, isn’t wild enough, then what about the rest of the East Coast? Can its ecosystems be restored? And if it has taken Davis and others more than a decade to establish the outlines of a relatively modest wildlife corridor from Split Rock Wild Forest to the High Peaks, is there any hope that such a scheme can be replicated over a much larger landscape?
Whatever the difficulties may be, there is a growing sense among conservationists that the old model of nature protection – setting aside large but isolated wilderness areas – is no longer viable. There’s also a sense that what E.O. Wilson has called a “discipline with a deadline” is running out of time.
“There’s really no option,” Baldwin says. “We need large interconnected landscapes if we’re going to survive as a species. And in the East it’s a big challenge. But we have this opportunity right now to piece together something that resembles an intact set of ecosystems.”

fty years ago the likelihood of seeing a bald eagle in the Adirondacks would have been extremely low. A combination of sport hunting, habitat destruction, and the impact of DDT had driven the bird nearly to extinction. By 1960 a once thriving population in New York State had been reduced to a single active nest and a few dozen wintering visitors.
Beginning in 1976 the state launched an ambitious recovery effort whereby birds from Wisconsin and Alaska were released into the wild. Over a 13-year period more than 200 eaglets were released. According to the latest figures, in 2010 New York was home to 173 breeding pairs and more than 600 wintering visitors. Bald eagles have also returned to several other Northeastern states. “If you had told me when we began that the final numbers would be anywhere near that I would have thought you were out of your mind,” says Peter Nye, who directed the eagle restoration program for the Department of Environmental Conservation until his retirement two years ago. “It’s been tremendously successful.”
But the 1970s were a different time (the Endangered Species Act was passed in 1973 and the bald eagle among the original species listed) and the eagle much safer than cougars or wolves from a public relations point of view. Given current economic conditions and the politicization of the ESA, Nye says, it would be difficult to sell a restoration program like the one that brought bald eagles back. Even a moose restoration plan put forward in 1980 failed to get the kind of pubic backing needed to receive state funding. Nye says: “People saw a few moose coming back in from New Hampshire and Vermont and said, ‘They’re okay on their own. We don’t need to spend the money.’” In fact, moose have since returned to New York State and are now well established.
detail from collage of animals and a map
Eagles were not the first species to disappear from the Northeast. Beginning in the mid-to-late1800s, cougars and wolves were driven to extinction. Although gray wolf populations survived in parts of eastern Canada, they have been unable to reclaim their native habitat south of the border. On the few occasions that wolves have ventured into Maine, they have been promptly shot, which is illegal, since the wolf is still a federally protected species in the Northeast. Other species like beaver, deer, caribou, and moose also suffered precipitous declines in the late nineteenth century. Since then (with the exception of caribou) these populations have recovered.
Implicit in Davis’s assertion that the Adirondacks isn’t wild enough is the absence of top predators like cougars and wolves. The aesthetic and spiritual case for bringing these animals back has been made for some time. But it is only in the last few decades that a deeper understanding of the role of predators in regulating ecosystems – from controlling prey to maintaining healthy plant communities – has taken hold. The notion of “top down regulation” is central to any rewilding effort. Not only do the large carnivores help to restore ecological balance, they require large amounts of protected habitat as well as corridors that connect those areas.
This may require modifying roads so that wildlife can travel from one area to another without being killed. It also means educating the public – farmers, ranchers, and hunters, among others – about why these animals are central to the long-term sustainability of any ecosystem. Public acceptance is just as important as biological feasibility.
“The thing about reintroductions that really needs to be kept in mind is that they take an enormous amount of expense, time, and energy if you do them properly,” says Justina Ray, executive director of Wildlife Conservation Society Canada. “In fact, we have to make sure that we do the right thing, that we do it right, before subjecting animals to reintroduction and possible failure.”

Perhaps the most well known example of a successful predator reintroduction in North America is that of wolves in Yellowstone. In 1995 wolves from Alberta were released into the Lamar Valley, along the northeastern edge of the park. They have since dispersed and, along with wolves from Canada, established populations in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.
Not only have they demonstrated that there is enough habitat and prey to thrive, they have also begun to slowly alter the region’s ecology. Historical records show that beginning in the early 1900s, when wolves disappeared from the park, the growth patterns of cottonwoods, aspen, and willow were dramatically impacted. Bob Beschta, who began studying cottonwoods in the Lamar Valley in 2001, says he didn’t initially think wolves were a big part of the equation. “I didn’t really go there to study the effects of wolves,” he says. “Because at the time I thought, well, there’s 15,000 elk and there’s 50 wolves, what difference could it make? It just seemed to me like they were inconsequential.” But it turns out that since wolves have returned they have altered elk behavior and spurred the recovery and growth of important trees and plants. It didn’t happen overnight, and the changes have been incremental, but the wolves’ return has started a process of recovery that has broad implications for Yellowstone and beyond.
Why bring these big predators back? “One of the big reasons, ecologically,” says Beschta, “is that without them these deer, these ungulates, are revamping your systems. They’re totally changing where they’re going to go.”
Advocates of wolf and cougar reintroduction in the East have had little success. It is generally believed that the region is too densely populated and that there isn’t enough open space to support large predators. But that view is now being challenged. John Laundre, a biologist at SUNY Oswego, published a paper in January arguing that the Adirondacks could support a healthy cougar population. In addition, recent research has shown that these animals can live in much closer proximity to humans than previously thought. “If you look at public opinion surveys in the West, where people just consider it part of the landscape, people are pretty accepting of having cougars and not particularly fearful of having them around,” says Mark McCollough, an Endangered Species Specialist with the US Fish and Wildlife Service. In California, which has a cougar population of between 4,000 and 6,000, interactions with humans are rare.

Even if cougars could survive in parts of the Northeast, most observers agree that there is little interest on the part of state agencies or the 
USFWS in a potentially controversial reintroduction. In the absence of any federal program, Spatz says his foundation plans to launch a national recovery plan, first for cougars and then possibly other large predators. “We’re making the argument that this is actually based on what we know about ecosystems and how wolves and cougars kind of guard and shepherd ecosystems,” he says. “There’s no reason the Adirondacks should not only have cougars, they should have wolves and elk and moose and forest bison and lynx. The whole ecosystem should be back there.”“You’ve got wolves running up and down the peninsula of Italy,” says Chris Spatz, president of the West Virginia-based Cougar Rewilding Foundation. “The Carpathian Mountains of Romania have a higher human density than interior New England and you’ve got brown bears, European grizzlies, and wolves all over the place. So we know we can do this.”
Making ecosystems whole. That is the aim of rewilding. The science is there: We now know that even parts of the East, once written off as untenable sites for reintroduction, are capable of supporting wolves and cougars. If given the opportunity, there is little doubt that they would continue to expand their range. The question is whether humans will allow for their return.
If the reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone serves as a kind of model, a bright spot in an age of grim ecological forecasts, it is also a stark reminder of just how far we have to go. Currently a population of about 5,000 wolves occupies only 5 percent of its historic range, a fragile recovery at best. Yet the backlash has already begun. In 2011 the federal government removed Endangered Species Act protection for wolves in Montana and Idaho as well as parts of Washington, Oregon, and Utah. Then in March of last year the USFWS recommended removing protections for remaining gray wolf populations, with the possible exception of some subspecies and breeding populations. A month later Wyoming’s legislature followed suit, stripping ESA protection for its 
Of course, rewilding is about much more than returning predators to the landscape – it is about connecting habitats, restoring ecosystems, and radically changing the way humans relate to other species and the natural world more broadly. Whether we choose to let these large predators survive, though, may determine the future of conservation in North America.
“I think the importance of rewilding will increase in years to come,” says Steve Trombulak, a biologist at Middlebury College. “Whether we as a civilization will become mature enough to take it seriously and invest in it as a society, I have no idea.”
Adam Federman is a contributing editor at Earth Island Journal. He is the recipient of a Polk Grant for Investigative Reporting, a Middlebury Fellowship in Environmental Journalism, and a Russia Fulbright Fellowship.

Monday, May 23, 2016

SAFE PASSSAGE is an appropriate title for the "grandfather" of large connective wildlife corridors, THE YELLOWSTONE TO YUKON INITIATIVE----Whose goal is to connect the 2000 miles between these end points with enough interconnected large swaths of wild open space to allow the persistence of the West's array of wildlife, both predator and prey animals across and up and down the food chain..... "Y2Y is effectively a relay race, in which each region is trying to hand off an intact landscape to the next: Yellowstone to the High Divide, the Waterton Front to the Canadian Rockies, Jasper to the Muskwa-Kechika"................."The group’s totem, is the grizzly, whose expansive habitat requirements make it a useful umbrella for protecting other species"............. "If an ecosystem can support bears, it’s probably healthy enough for everything else...................."As Y2Y and its satellites have pioneered new approaches, they’ve become models for large-scale connectivity efforts on six continents"............. "The European Green Belt, a network of habitat that was incidentally protected by the Cold War’s Iron Curtain, will someday run north to south through twenty-four countries, from the Barents Sea to the Aegean"............... “Peace parks”—border-spanning protected areas that allow wildlife to migrate unfettered by geopolitics—have sprung up in Africa"............... "A proposed Atlantic Megalinkage would run from Florida to Quebec, joining ecosystems like Georgia’s coastal plains and Vermont’s Green Mountains"

read the full article by clicking on this link

Illustration by Mike Reagan.
Illustration by Mike Reagan.

Safe Passage

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on a soggy September afternoon in southeast British Columbia, Nancy Newhouse swung her truck through a bank of pearl-colored fog and bounced to a halt on the shoulder of Highway 3A. Newhouse, Tom Swann, and I emerged into the cold mist, stepping carefully around the puddled ruts carved in the pullout. A convoy of logging trucks, their beds heavy with timber, sprayed mud at our shins. Adjusting our raingear, we began trudging north along the highway; to our left, a screen of cedar, spruce, and Doug fir shielded the valley below. After a hundred yards, the curtain thinned, and Newhouse stopped.

“There it is,” she said, the hood of her Nature Conservancy of Canada raincoat pulled low over her eyes. She pointed through the trees, toward the floor of the Creston Valley. “There’s the corridor.” I followed her finger, baffled. Sorry, I wanted to ask, but where’s the corridor? I searched in vain for signage. A non- descript swath of grainfields glimmered through the shifting fog. The land lay flat, furrowed with oats. The brown arm of a dike, built to stave off the floodwaters of nearby Duck Lake, wormed across the property.

Though the land appeared mundane to my human eye—Yellowstone it wasn’t—from a grizzly bear’s standpoint you’d be hard-pressed to find a more important parcel in North America. This humble polygon of farmland, dubbed the Frog Bear Conservation Corridor, was a crucial piece in a two- thousand-mile puzzle, a bridge that would allow isolated clusters of Ursus arctos horribilis to mingle and mate. “This movement corridor is well known,” Swann, Newhouse’s colleague at Nature Conservancy of Canada, told me as raindrops pooled in his trim white beard. “The science is clear.” That science was why NCC had recently purchased and protected 679 acres of the Creston Valley. Though the land’s $2.5 million price tag was steep, Newhouse and Swann had help: over half the funds had come from the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative, one of the world’s most ambitious wildlife groups.

The vision of Yellowstone to Yukon, or Y2Y, is jaw-dropping: Its leaders espouse a continentwide network of protected areas and corridors that would allow animals to wander unhindered through a landscape the size of France, Spain, and the United Kingdom combined. The organization’s advocates dream that the effort will preserve migration routes for caribou and wolves, link pockets of far-ranging creatures like wolverines, and help animals of all sizes flee northward in the face of climate change. The group’s totem, however, is the grizzly, whose expansive habitat requirements make it a useful umbrella for protecting other species. If an ecosystem can support bears, it’s probably healthy enough for everything else.
Ben Goldfarb’s journalism has appeared in High Country News, Earth Island Journal, The Guardian, and other publications. He received a master’s degree in Environmental Management from Yale University. This story was supported by the Solutions Journalism Network.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Reading the lucid common sense and no-spin scientific rationale of Idaho resident Bonnie Brown regarding the travesty that is Idaho's Wolf Management paradigm restores hope that there might come a day when folks in the northern Rocky Mountain States might just come to enjoy and reap the human revitalization and economic benefits that come with co-existing with Wolves, Griz and Pumas................Bonnie "shoots straight and true" stating that----------------"Wolves kill elk"........................ "So do bears and lions".................. "That is what predators do".................... "We need to leave all of them alone to let them seek their own balance in wilderness areas"................... "Then the hunters can take from that natural abundance that is left over, not the other way around"............... "This would be true management of wildlife"......................"It is my opinion that the blatant massacre of wolves from helicopters coupled with obsessive trapping, neck snares and poisoning is a frivolous personal ploy of an agenda to satisfy a small group of people (pushed by our governor) at the expense of Idahoans".................... "It is not only bad stewardship of the land, but it is not helping an Idaho that is so desperately in need of better health care, infrastructure and schools, etc"........................ "These egregious actions and misuse of taxpayer money ($6,000 per dead wolf) through the Idaho wolf depredation board most urgently needs to be addressed — and most favorably abolished"

Questioning the ‘facts’ on wolves


 I would like to respond to the comment made by Idaho Rep. Ron Mendive at the Fish and Game Commission meeting on 5/16/16.

With regard to wolf supporters, Rep. Mendive stated: “Everybody’s entitled to their opinion, but it’s primarily opinion. It’s not based in fact.”
Ironically, wolf supporters have felt the same about the IFG.We have to believe the IFG’s own statistics that are given to us, but not all of these “facts” logically stack up from what we have observed for ourselves. Extrapolation methods are used (using math from aircraft) to come up with these numbers, which is not always accurate — but who’s checking?

IFG says that its biologists have determined the primary limiting factor for the elk herds in the Lolo are wolves. This isn’t the first time they have said this.Elk herds dropped from 16,000 in 1989 to 2,100 in 2010. This was later blamed on the wolf, but the huge drop in elk populations came before the wolves had ever reached the Locksa, making it impossible for them to be responsible.
The depletions at that time were due to some very severe winters in the ‘90s and excessive over-hunting by outfitters and regular hunters in that region. Professional hunter and tracker Kevin Brown states, “When I was hunting on the Locksa, this was common knowledge at that time as to why there were elk reductions.”

Kevin also stated, “I have hunted in just about every drainage of the Lolo and the St. Joe for over 25 years and I have never encountered one F&G employee, but I have run across evidence of poachers on numerous occasions. Salt licks that are illegal...are abundant everywhere. Bow hunters use them to lure in elk during bow season. Where is the enforcement? Where is the IFG?”
Every area has a carrying capacity which is the amount of animals that are sustainable to inhabit these areas year after year while living with predators, fires and harsh winters. These levels are dictated by nature. When there are too many elk for an area, it ultimately results in starvation and disease for the ecosystem to come back into balance.Habitat is a huge factor towards decreased populations of elk.

Road kills on Highway 12, outfitters, hunters and poachers are not inclusive in these carrying capacity numbers. Whittling down predators to artificially increase ungulate numbers that are already topheavy for these areas is for a private agenda only. That agenda is to fill the tags of outfitters and hunters. To manically start massacring wolves and killing lions and bears to create a mono culture for outfitters is shameful.
How any biologist can determine that the cause of elk reduction is solely due to wolves is questionable. How can they really know all of the legitimate reasons for depletion when there are so many possibilities for this to happen? Better yet, how can they narrow it down to only one predator — the wolf? This is not logical.

Wolves kill elk. So do bears and lions. That is what predators do. We need to leave all of them alone to let them seek their own balance in wilderness areas. Then the hunters can take from that natural abundance that is left over, not the other way around. This would be true management of wildlife.
“I question the IFG reports from all that I have personally witnessed,” says Kevin Brown. “I see extreme mismanagement of our wildlife predators using Idaho taxpayer dollars. It’s clear that balance of these amazing ecosystems is no longer a priority.”

When I see new buildings, new trucks and literally hundreds of employees working for the IFG, I have to wonder why there isn’t more enforcement in our forests where the allotted $400,000 per year for the wolf depredation board could really be used.
It is my opinion that the blatant massacre of wolves from helicopters coupled with obsessive trapping, neck snares and poisoning is a frivolous personal ploy of an agenda to satisfy a small group of people (pushed by our governor) at the expense of Idahoans. It is not only bad stewardship of the land, but it is not helping an Idaho that is so desperately in need of better health care, infrastructure and schools, etc.
These egregious actions and misuse of taxpayer money ($6,000 per dead wolf) through the Idaho wolf depredation board most urgently needs to be addressed — and most favorably abolished.
This should be put to a vote for Idahoans and not left solely up to an appointed organization that ultimately oversees itself and ignores public opinion.

Bonnie Brown is a Benewah County resident

Saturday, May 21, 2016

LANDSCAPE OF FEAR Biologist John Laundre was once a hunter-----BUT NO MORE.........Over the past couple of years, John has provided us with a series of writings that focus on how in 2016, if you are not hunting to eat, you are simply hunting to kill..................And in our human-centric world with so many animal and plant species getting "squeezed" and "blinking out" due to our growing population, land and weather altering actions, John both articulately and emotionally makes the case that hunters should be honest about their motivations for being in the woods with high powered weapons..............From his perspective, there are all types of ways to bond with your buddies in the back country without killing Griz, Wolf and Puma............., From his point of view, there are all types of ways to feed your family without killing wild animals.................... He holds the outlook that there are significantly better ways of promoting optimum biodiversity than going into the woods and shooting predators in the name of helping their prey animals.........John admits to a bit of a "rant" in his piece below,,,,,,,,,,,,,,But wherever you come out on hunting, I believe most of us can empathize with John's indignation with the Alaska High School Football Player who decided his next chapter of life should be determined by whether he kills a Grizzly when next in the back country................As famed 20th century naturalist Aldo Leopold put it--- "Ethical behavior is doing the right thing when no one else is watching- even when doing the wrong thing is legal"

Grand View Outdoors On-line story headline: Bear Hunt Helps Alaskan Football Player Make College Decision‏. 

Now we all know magazines (ragazines I call them) like Grand View Outdoors, pander to the killing of things, mainly just for the thrill of killing. This is especially the case for predators and they seem to go to any extreme to somehow justify this killing. The follow-up story with this headline is indeed a case in point. It seems this poor high school football player from Alaska was wracked with anguish about what to do with his future: go to a college just for academics or capitalize on his football prowess to give him a free ride to another college. What to do what to do??? Well the answer is simple, go kill a brown bear and, as he so callously put it, let the bears decide! If he gets to kill one, he does one thing, if not, he does the other. 

Something to be proud about?????

To put it in a common acronym being used lately, WTF? Who in their right mind would even begin to think that a bear would give a flying $%#^ at a rolling donut (to quote Kurt Vonnegut) what a teenage boyshould do with his future? Let alone, enough to give up its life so this poor lost youth could make a decision! I can just see a bear waking up one morning and thinking: Hum, should I go and forage so I can survive another day or should I give up my life so this football jock can make a decision about where to go to college. What to do, what to do?

Of course, this story begs the question of just how many other bears or other large majestic animals have to die so people can make equally tough life-decisions. Should I buy a Chevy or a Ford? Go kill a bear to decide.  Should I get my hair cut short or let it grow? Go kill something! Should I wear socks with these shorts??? You get the picture. It clearly defines a whole new, and in the eyes of Grand View Outdoors, legitimate reason to kill animals…to help us make those tough decisions.

Does killing our largest native mammal with a high power
rifle make you a man?

The fact that Grand View Outdoors ran this story in all seriousness underlies the frivolous and utterly obscene length it and its ilk would go to justify killing an animal, not for food (although I guess the bear the boy killed, yes a bear lost its life to help him decide what to do, could feed him for several years at college!) but just to kill. In this case he killed a 1,000 pound animal just to make a decision about where to go to school!

Wildlife are NOT like a coin that you toss to make a decision. Nowhere in the NAM (North American Model for Wildlife Conservation) does it say a legitimate reason to kill an animal is to help you make decisions! I would think that falls squarely under the area of frivolous and unjustified reasons that the NAM frowns on. As such, Grand View Outdoors should be condemning such actions rather than praising them as a justifiable reason to kill a bear or any wildlife! But then again, it is not about justified reasons to kill an animal, it is about killing for killing sake. For a boy to go and kill a bear just to ease his mental anguish clearly indicates where modern hunting has gone and why I no longer do it.

Is it sexy for this blonde to brag about blowing
away this Griz with what could be an AK47?

 Hunting IS NOT about food. It IS about killing. It is about trophies/bragging rights/machismo, killing just to kill, all those "manly" things that hunters try to disguise with red herrings like "it is for the food" or "we need to control their populations" or, my favorite reoccurring theme, "it is a bonding experience", and many more asinine reasons. It is about the killing pure and simple. Hunters should be honest enough to admit it and not hide behind lame platitudes. If they cannot live with that, then maybe they shouldn't hunt!  

John Laundre

The Landscape of Fear: Ecological Implications of Being Afraid John W. Laundré*,1, Lucina Hernández1 and William J. Ripple2 1 Department of Biological Sciences, SUNY Oswego, Oswego, NY 13126, USA 2 Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society, College of Forestry, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA 

Abstract: “Predation risk” and “fear” are concepts well established in animal behavior literature. We expand these concepts to develop the model of the “landscape of fear”. The landscape of fear represents relative levels of predation risk as peaks and valleys that reflect the level of fear of predation a prey experiences in different parts of its area of use. We provide observations in support of this model regarding changes in predation risk with respect to habitat types, and terrain characteristics. We postulate that animals have the ability to learn and can respond to differing levels of predation risk. We propose that the landscape of fear can be quantified with the use of well documented existing methods such as givingup densities, vigilance observations, and foraging surveys of plants. We conclude that the landscape of fear is a useful visual model and has the potential to become a unifying ecological concept.