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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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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Down in Louisisana is a man after my own heart by the name of Matt Conn...........An Environmental Consultant by profession, he has taken to recreating and restoring his own personal 65 acres of property back to their native Bald Cypress/Pecan/Green Ash forest state.........One by one, out come the non-native chineese tallow trees and other non-native exotics and in their place the "Bald Cyprus Association of plants" that upon maturity could harbor a menagerie of 200+bird species,,,,,,,,,,,,,His land improvements have upped the biodiversity quotient on the property with bobcats, black bears and deer all now making their home there...............In a much smaller way, I too have been a land restorationist on the 4 homes that I have owned in Dallas, Pomona, New York, Allendale, NJ and Calabasas, Calif...........Natives replaced exotics with the goal of bringing back indigenous animal species .................As Mr. Conn states in the article,,,,,,,,,,,,,,"It's my therapy, I'm one of those society does not make any sense to me kind of guys, nature does"


A Hobbyist



 Sits Among the

 Cypress Trees

While some people golf to
unwind, Matt Conn, an
environmental consultant,
 restores his wetland,
 pouring in hours and
money putting his
somewhere between
 and obsession.
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Matt Conn trimming trees on his property in Iberia Parish, La
. Mr. Conn, an environmental consultant, bought the land
 after it had been partly drained and cleared. He has devoted 
considerable time and money to restore it.CreditWilliam Widmer for 
The New York Times

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A young cypress on his property.CreditWilliam Widmer for The New York Times

Continue reading the main story

Baton Rouge
New Orleans
Iberia Parish
Gulf of Mexico

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Controlled burns where there has been man-made fire suppression for decades can regenerate habitat(if done right) ..........Reinvigoration of both flora and fauna has taken place in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia with resulting abundant soft mast, grasses and forbs, a reduced shrub layer, and small canopy gaps...........Cameras have shown deer, bears, turkeys and other wildlife frequenting the burn sights

Forest Service in NC:

 Why burn? Ask the


Just as certain plants

 need fire to 

succeed, the animals

 that depend 

on those species 

benefit from fire as well.


It was my first prescribed
 burn. After weeks of training, and
 months of anticipation,
I was finally on the ground — drip
 torch in hand — ready
 to apply fire to restore the mixed
 pine-hardwood forests
at the edge of the Blue Ridge
Mountains, on the
 Grandfather Ranger District of
Pisgah National Forest.

Joining the Forest Service only two months
 earlier, I
 had a mainly academic knowledge of fire's
effect on
 plant and wildlife communities. As the
for the Grandfather Restoration Project,
part of the
Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration
 I had to come up to speed with the on-the-
 reality of prescribed fire use quickly.
In the Forest Service's Southern Region,
fire is a key tool for management and
restoration of
fire-dependent ecosystems. The
Grandfather Ranger
District, with its south-facing piney
slopes, has a
historic fire return interval of 5-7 years.
Today, the
return interval is 10-fold the historic
averaging 50-70 years across the

As I lit the fire that early March morning, igniting
thick leaf litter and dense shrubs that
with years of fire suppression, I couldn't help
 but wonder:
What happens to the wildlife after the fire?
 the fuels with scorched earth is unnerving
 to those who
are not familiar with fire as a restoration tool,
 with the
aftermath often being likened to a
The reality is much different. Just as
certain plants
 need fire to succeed, the animals that
depend on
 those species benefit from fire as well.

"Prescribed fire burns at varying intensities across the
 landscape, creating abundant soft mast, grasses and
forbs, a reduced shrub layer, and small canopy gaps,"
said Pisgah National Forest Wildlife Biologist Chris
 Williams. "These conditions provide foraging, nesting,
 and escape cover for a variety of game and non-game
 terrestrial wildlife."
With the evolving use of prescribed fire as a tool for
restoration, it is critical to study the effects of fire on
 the communities we are looking to restore. Traditional
 fire studies often focus on vegetation.
The participants in the Grandfather Restoration Project
decided take it one step further — to directly study
wildlife use in sites that are treated with prescribed fire
compared with untreated sites.
Working collaboratively, wildlife specialists from
Pisgah National Forest, the North Carolina Wildlife
 Resource Commission, and The Nature
 Conservancy designed a cutting-edge study using
wildlife cameras.

Re-entering the prescribed burn unit just four months
 after the fire, wildlife cameras in tow, I could see the
changes in vegetation. From a so-called "moon-scape"
 just after the burn, a lush herbaceous layer had
appeared, carpeting the forest with blueberries and
Using 50 camera points over a six-week period in July
and August, we were able to study which wildlife
species are using our forests, and what habitats they
prefer. Cameras captured deer, bears, turkeys and
 other wildlife.
"I was very encouraged by the effects of the burn,"
 Williams said. "While the results of the study have
not been fully analyzed, the photos can provide land
 managers with population estimates
 " predator-prey ratios."

Early data indicates a higher use of the burn unit by
wildlife when compared to the unburned unit. More
solid results will be available as the data is analyzed
over the next several months.
Lisa Jennings is a Natural Resource Specialist with
 the U.S. Forest Service National Forests in North
 Carolina. Reprinted with permission from www.

If it can happen in Ketchum, Idaho, it can occur everywhere..............Forward looking decision to co-exist with Wolves and not to kill them............Ketchum recognizes the value of Wolves to their bottom line(if not their intrinsic value)...........I give them an "A" for this move!

Ketchum passes resolution for non-lethal wolf management

KETCHUM – The Ketchum City County unanimously
 passed a resolution Monday in support of wildlife
 co-existence. This means city leaders are taking a
stance against lethal means to manage wolves in the
 Wood River Valley.
During his 2014 State of the State Address, Gov.
 Butch Otter called for $2 million in wolf management
 funds to be used to form a wolf depredation control
 board to scale down the predator population.
Those in Ketchum don't want to see that board use 
lethal actions when it comes to livestock and wolves
 in Blaine County.
Ketchum Mayor Nina Jonas told KTVB about the
reasons behind the resolution. In February of 2014,
 the city approved an update to their comprehensive
plan. One of the top values in that plan, according
 to Jonas, is wildlife stewardship.
"In this community we care about those values and
 bio diversity, and also the efforts of the Wood River
 Wild Project," said Jonas.
The Wood River Wolf Project was started in 2007.
 Ranchers, environmentalists and biologists have
since been working together to find and implement
alternatives to killing wolves. It includes flagging,
 sound devices, even guard dogs, and those with
the project have said its working, with sheep kills down.
However, what does a resolution really mean
 because the city of Ketchum has no jurisdiction over
 how the wolf is managed in the state?
"Wolf management is under state and federal control,
so as a resolution it's acknowledging that we have no
real authority over this, but it's a statement and we
 hope the governor will hear it," said Jonas. "There
 is a way to co-habitate and co-exist with an apex
 predator like the wolf, there are ways to manage
it without taking their population down just above
 the endangered species listing."
Public affairs specialist Carol Bannerman with Idaho
 Wildlife Services explained in a statement how the
 agency responds to livestock and wolf conflicts.
"WS biologists and specialists recommend non-letha
l options but also can conduct control actions when
requested and when approved by a wolf-management
 agency. Wildlife Services has recommended many
tools including fencing, protection dogs, and so forth.
 For example, WS is currently conducting research
on the potential of larger breeds as livestock guard
 dogs in areas with high wolf population. One study
 project is in Blaine County. The Wildlife Services
research center developed the electronic guard, a
 sound and light deterrent for predators, and for
 many years was the major source for it before it
became commercially available."
Jonas said for a community like Ketchum and the
 Sun Valley this resolution is important because
 the area's economy depends on tourism.
"There is a war on wolves in the Huffington Post,
and there is national attention on this extreme
management technique, and that is bad for us
because we are an economy that depends on
 attracting people to our community," she said.
Ketchum is the first community in Idaho to
 adopt such a resolution.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Independent Wolf Researchers in Wisconsin led by U. of Wisconsin Professor Adrian Treves feel that the Dept. of Natural Resources has conveniently underestimated the 2013 Wolf kill in the state by not taking into account illegal poaching and GPS collared animals..........The DNR folks felt that prior to the 2012-13 season, some 815 Lobos roamed Wisconsin............They claim that hunters reduced this number to about 675 last year..............Treves feels that at most 529 Wolves exist currently and perhaps as few as 366...........If so, should there really be a Wolf hunting and trapping season in this state with such a huge downward momentum of the population?

Wisconsin wolf population estimates faulty, researchers say

By Todd Richmond
Associated Press
UPDATED:   09/14/2014 10:36:00 PM CDT

A gray wolf in an April 2008 photo provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. (AP Photo/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Gary Kramer, File)

Scientists are warning federal wildlife officials that Wisconsin's Department of Natural Resources produced a flawed wolf population estimate for the 18 months after January 2012 when the animals were removed from a federal endangered species list.
The researchers said in a letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in August that the 2012-13 wolf monitoring report the DNR sent to the federal agency omitted information.
Missing from the report was data on how many radio-collared wolves disappeared, the date of death of radio-collared animals that were recovered and an acknowledgment that poaching could have affected the population, the scientists said.
The DNR under reported wolf mortality at 28.22 percent, they said, estimating it could actually be within the 35 percent to 55 percent range for the 18 months through June 2013.
DNR Large Carnivore Specialist Dave MacFarland said in an email late Wednesday afternoon that Fish and Wildlife didn't require the information that was left out of the report.
A review team made up of wolf experts looked over the data and didn't raise the same concerns as the researchers, he added.
What's more, the DNR has recently collaborated with University of Wisconsin-Madison to compile the data and has made the information available in "university reports."
The email did not say what the data shows or where it could be located.

DNR spokesman Bill Cosh responded to an after-hours request Wednesday evening for more details by saying the data is in a 400-page dissertation housed at UW-Madison's library.
A spokesman for the Fish and Wildlife Service's Midwest region didn't return a message.
The federal government removed wolves in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin from the endangered species list in January 2012. Days later, Republican lawmakers in Wisconsin introduced a bill setting up about a 5 month wolf season. The legislation allows hunters to use up to six dogs to track and trail wolves.
Animal rights advocates contend that using dogs will lead to bloody hound-wolf clashes in the woods.
The scientists warned that hunting wolves with hounds is a new threat to the population and suggested additional regulation would be required to avoid unlawful or unsustainable killing.
The DNR examined 27 of the 35 wolves killed by hunters using dogs this past season and didn't find any evidence of fights or other illegal practices.
The evaluation was inconclusive, however; the carcasses already had been skinned when the agency examined them.
The researchers also complained that the DNR included data from novice trackers in its 2013-14 monitoring report and barred the public from a May meeting in which data was aggregated and interpreted. The moves make it difficult to compare population estimates from year to year, they said.
The latest DNR estimates put Wisconsin's wolf population at somewhere between 660 to 689 animals, down from 809 to 824 animals in 2012-13. The agency's board has set the kill limit at 150 wolves for the season, down from 251 last year.
The group recommended an independent scientific review of the DNR's data. They urged Fish and Wildlife officials to consider placing the wolf back on the endangered species list before the wolf season opens in mid-October to allow time for the review and demand the DNR use a standardized format for its population estimates.
The researchers were led by Adrian Treves, a UW-Madison environmental studies associate professor who studies the interactions between humans and carnivores.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Richard Conniff is a contributing NY Times opinion writer and the author of “The Species Seekers: Heroes, Fools, and the Mad Pursuit of Life on Earth..............He writes extensively about wildlife and in todays NY Times he offers the following oh-so-simple, spot-on and poignant clarion call for optimum biodiversity on earth----------"We act as though animals matter only when they benefit humans"....................."Wildlife is and should be useless in the same way art, music, poetry and even sports are useless"................. "They are useless in the sense that they do nothing more than raise our spirits, make us laugh or cry, frighten, disturb and delight us".......... "They connect us not just to what’s weird, different, other, but to a world where we humans do not matter nearly as much as we like to think"........... "And that should be enough"

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Useless Creatures

I mostly write about wildlife. So

 here is how it typically happens
 for me: A study comes out 
indicating that species x, y and
 z are in imminent danger of
 extinction, or that some major
 bioregion of the planet is being 
sucked down into the abyss. And
 it’s my job to convince people
 that they should care, even as
 they are racing to catch the 7:10
 train, or wondering if they’ll be
 able to pay this month’s (or last
 month’s) rent.This article
contains no useful information
. Zero. Nada. Nothing. If
 usefulness is your criterion for
 reading, thank you very much
for your time and goodbye, we
have nothing more to say. The
 truth is that I am bored to tears
by usefulness. I am bored, more
 precisely, of pretending
usefulness is the thing that
 really matters.
My usual strategy is to trot out
 a list of ways even the mos
t obscure species can prove
unexpectedly, yes, useful. The
first effective treatment that
 turned H.I.V. from a death
sentence into a manageable
condition? Inspired by the 
biochemistry of a nondescript
 Caribbean sponge. The ACE
inhibitors that are currently
among our most effective
 treatments for cardiovascular
 disease (and which have lately
been proposed as a treatment
 for Ebola)? Developed by
 studying the venom of the
 fer-de-lance, a deadly snake
 found from Mexico to
 northern South America.
The new medical bandage
that’s gentle enough for the
delicate skin of newborns
and the elderly? Modeled
on the silk of spider webs.
Every time I begin this line
of argument, though, I get
the queasy feeling that I am
perpetuating a fallacy. It’s
 not that I’m telling lies;
 these examples are entirely
 real. But given, for instance,
 that three-quarters of our
farm crops depend on insect
pollinators, or that more than
2.6 billion people rely directly
on seafood for protein, it
seems a little obvious to be
 reminding people that wildlife
 can be useful, or, more to the
 point, that human survival
depends on wildlife. Without
saying so out loud, the
argument also implies that
animals matter only because
they benefit humans, or
because just possibly, at some
 unknowable point in the future,
 they might benefit humans.
You don’t have to look too far
 to see how silly this can get.
In truth, I don’t have to look
at all, because university
 press offices fill my inbox
with examples every day: The
Harvard scientists who hope
their study of cuttlefish skin
will “inspire improved protective
 camouflage for soldiers on the
 battlefield.” The Berkeley team
 that thinks studying the 
genetics of blubber-eating
 polar bears could help us learn
 to live with our bacon-wrapped,
 wide-load lifestyle. And the
wonderful folks at Nanyang
Technological University, in
 Singapore, who believe
Squid sucker ring teeth 
material could aid 
reconstructive surgery, serve
 as eco-packaging.” (And you
thought they were good only
for calamari.)
I don’t entirely blame the
scientists. Their research often
depends on taxpayer funding,
 and their dreams are haunted
 by the ghost of United States
Senator William Proxmire’s 
Golden Fleece Award. That
award garnered headlines by
ridiculing outlandish-seeming
items in the federal budget, and
 animal behavior studies were a
 juicy target. So now people
 doing that kind of research all
feel obliged to imply that they
are two steps away from a cure
 for the common cold. No basic
 research here, Senator, sir, no
idle curiosity. Useful “R” Us.
(They also delight in pointing
 out that one of Mr. Proxmire’s
 targets — a $250,000
 investigation into the sex life
of the screwworm fly — has
yielded $20 billion in benefits
to American cattle farmers by
 enabling control of a major
 insect pest.)

CImprobably, wildlife
Conservationists now also
 often hear the call of the
 useful. Along with a large
contingent of eco-finance
bureaucrats, they try to save
threatened habitats by
 reminding nearby
communities of all the
benefits they derive from
keeping these habitats intact
. Forests, meadows and
marshes prevent floods,
 supply clean water, provide
habitat for species that
pollinate crops, put oxygen
 into the atmosphere and
 take carbon out, and
 otherwise make themselves
 useful. In some cases,
 conservation groups or
 other interested parties
actually put down cash for
 these ecosystem services
— paying countries, for
 instance, to maintain forests
as a form of carbon
 sequestration. The argument,
 in essence, is that we can
 persuade people to save
nature by making it possible
 for them to sell it. They can
take nature to the bank, or at
 least to the local grocery. They
 can monetize it. (The new
 revised version of Genesis now
says, “God made the wild animals
 according to their kinds, and he
 said, ‘Let them be fungible.’ ”)
I understand the logic, or at least
the desperation, that drives
conservationists to this horrible
 idea. It may seem like the only
way to keep what’s left of the
natural world from being plowed
 under by unstoppable human
expansion and by our insatiable
appetite for what appears to be
useful. But usefulness is precisely
 the argument other people put
 forward to justify destroying or
displacing wildlife, and they
generally bring a larger and
 more persuasive kind of green
 to the argument. Nothing you
can say about 100 acres in the
New Jersey Meadowlands will
ever add up for a politician who
thinks a new shopping mall will
mean more jobs for local voters
 (and contributions to his
 campaign war chest). Nothing
 you can say about the value of
rhinos for ecotourism in South
Africa will ever matter to a wildlife
 trafficker who can sell their horns
 for $30,000 a pound in Vietnam.
Finally, there is the unavoidable
 problem that most wildlife species
 — honey badgers, blobfish, blue-
footed boobies, red-tailed hawks,
monarch butterflies, hellbenders
— are always going to be “useless,”
 or occasionally annoying, from a
 human perspective. And even
when they do turn out, by some
 quirk, to be useful, that’s typically
 incidental to what makes them
interesting. Cuttlefish do not
 fascinate because their skin may
 suggest new forms of military
 camouflage, but because of the
fantastic light shows tha
t sometimes play across their
 flanks. Spider web silk doesn’t
intrigue because somebody can
 turn it into bandages, but because
 of the astonishing things spiders
 can do with it — stringing a line
 across a stream and running
trotlines down the surface to catch
 water striders, for instance, or
 (in the case of the species named
mastophora dizzydeani) flinging a
 ball of silk on a thread like a spitball
 to snag moths out of the air.
Wildlife is and should be useless in
 the same way art, music, poetry and
 even sports are useless. They are
 useless in the sense that they do
nothing more than raise our spirits,
 make us laugh or cry, frighten,
disturb and delight us. They
connect us not just to what’s
 weird, different, other, but to a
world where we humans do not
 matter nearly as much as we
like to think.
And that should be enough.
Richard Conniff is a contributing
 opinion writer and the author of 
“The Species Seekers: Heroes, 
Fools, and the Mad Pursuit of
 Life on Earth.”

i believe down to my core what our greatest living Naturalist, E.O. Wilson has to say about "keeping all the cogs and wheels" spinning on this ball of life we call Mother Earth------"We should preserve every scrap of biodiversity as priceless while we learn to use it and come to understand what it means"..................“Biodiversity is the totality of all inherited variation in the life forms of Earth, of which we are one species".............. "We study and save it to our great benefit".......... "We ignore and degrade it to our great peril.” —E.O. Wilson ................Therefore, not only should we continue the RED WOLF RESTORATION PROGRAM in North Carolina, it should be expanded up and down the Eastern spine of the Continent linking up the Red Wolves(Eastern Wolves-same species they are is my take based on the research done to date) in Canada's Algonquin Provincial Park with the North Carolina population,,,,,,,,,,,Additioinally, rewilding this species south into Florida and West into Texas and Arkansas( the historical range of the Red/Eastern Wolf)..............Then and only then, dismantle the Red Wolf Restoration project............... At that point if some Red Wolves and Coyotes hybridize, so be it.............Both species would be at the point of being robust populations, with optimum biodiversity reinstated back into our natural world------and then, mother nature can combine or not combine further the "canis soup" of North America as she sees fit!

Wildlife agency extends red wolf comment period


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has extended by two weeks the comment period on the red wolf recovery program.
The agency is in the midst of a 60-day review of the effort to save wild red wolves in five northeastern North Carolina counties. Both sides of the issue are passionate.
"As a result of the high interest in this work, the email server for this address is struggling to keep up," said Leopoldo Miranda, the agency's assistant regional director for ecological services in Atlanta, in a statement.
Comments can be posted by Sept. 26 They also can be sent by mail by Sept. 26 to Red Wolf Evaluation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1875 Century Boulevard, Suite 200, Atlanta, Georgia, 30345.