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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, February 26, 2012

The Minnesota Dept of Natural Resources doesn't believe a growing wolf population is responsible for the severe decline of Moos in the State..........They are investing the next two years and committing $600,000 to studying the parasites and diseases that are ravaging the population........We discuss continually the warming temperatures that are spiking winter tick numbers........the growing whitetail herd spreading brain disease,,,,,,,,,,,and the human hunter mortality,,, in synergy, have North Country Moose in a freefall

Survey finds another decline in Minn. moose numbers; researcher fears slide to continue

By Associated Press, Published: February 23

MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota's moose population appears to have dropped
again, and a lead researcher for the state Department of Natural
Resources says the state may eventually have none.
Minnesota is one of the few strongholds for moose in the Lower 48
states, but an annual survey of the population found a 14 percent
decline, the Department of Natural Resources reported Thursday. The
reasons aren't clear, but scientists have speculated that disease,
parasites and a warming climate are affecting the animals.

We've basically lost half the moose population in northeastern
Minnesota and unless we see a change in the mortality rates or
improvements in reproduction, this population is going to continue
down that path," Mark Lenarz, leader of the DNR's forest wildlife and
populations research group, said in an interview with The Associated
Press. "We're probably not going to have moose in Minnesota that much

Lenarz led the aerial survey, which estimated Minnesota has 4,230
moose, down from an estimated 4,900 a year ago. Minnesota had nearly
9,000 moose — an iconic symbol of the state's north woods — just six
years ago.

The agency said the continuing decline will affect an upcoming
decision on whether to allow a moose hunt this fall.
The survey showed a couple of positive trends: improved calf survival
and a higher bull-to-cow ratio, indicating more bulls available for
breeding. Still, the cow-to-calf ratio of 36 calves per 100 cows is
well below estimates from the 1990s.

In the U.S., only Alaska and parts of New England and the Rocky
Mountains have large, stable populations. They're also common in
Canada.The state agency cautioned that its aerial estimates have a high
margin of error, but say the long-term trend is clearly downward. Its
estimates are based on data collected by helicopters flying over 49
randomly selected plots across northeastern Minnesota.

The agency said it will evaluate the new data and consult with tribal
biologists before making a decision on a hunting season in coming
weeks.Margaret Levin, state director of the Sierra Club, said the state
should consider not having a hunt.

But the agency, including Lenarz, insists hunting is not driving the
decline. The agency allowed a bulls-only season in the fall and cut
the number of permits in half, to 105. Hunters killed only 53 bulls,
some of which would have died anyway, Lenarz said.

"Even if we stopped hunting moose it would not turn the population
around in any way. We would continue to see this decline," he said.
Under the state's management plan, one trigger for closing the season
is if the bull-to-cow ratio drops below 67 bulls per 100 cows for
three straight years. It was below that last year, but rose this year
to 108 bulls per 100 calves.

The agency said it doesn't believe a growing wolf population is
responsible for the moose's decline. The department plans to begin a
two-year, $600,000 study next year to try to identify diseases and
parasites that might be responsible.

Lenarz said Minnesota's non-hunting mortality rates have been
averaging about 20 percent, compared with about 8 percent elsewhere in
North America. Changing that would require lower death rates among
adult moose and increased survival of calves, he said. That leaves him
pessimistic for the future of the majestic animals.

"In my opinion there is nothing that can be done to turn the
population around," he said.

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