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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, March 28, 2012

Dan Strickland worked as a Naturalist in the Algonquin Provincial Park in Canada from 1965-2000..............A major concentration of his during this period(and currently) was the question of why the white-tail deer had originally been unable to live as far north as Algonquin with the supposition being that their colonization of the region had only took place because of human altering and clearing the landscape........ And that the subsequent decline of the deer herd in the 1960's was due to the return of the forests to a more mature, pre-settlement condition that had seemingly kept deer absent from the area.............In his 2009 paper that you can access below, you will read about Dan's SUITABLE ALTERNATE PREY HYPOTHESIS which states that Moose had historically dominated the landscape from Canada on down through Northern New England.....By subsisting on Moose, Wolves(perhaps Bears and Pumas as well) took the smaller and more vulnerable deer to very low levels of population.......As settlement disrupted Moose habitat and caused Wolves, Bears and Pumas to retreat farther north, deer took advantage of the vacancy and also moved farther north...........With Wolves present today in the Great Lakes and Algonquin regions and feeding on Moose,, the easier-to-kill deer are again kept at low densities............So called PREDATOR MEDIATED COMPETITION is not a rare event in nature.............Where we have altered the linchen landscape that Caribou thrive on, Wolves who are subsisting on Elk find the easier-to-kill Caribou and subsequently bring their population down to low ebb..............Dan's paper adroitly addresses ecosytem structure looking at it both from a "bottom up" as well as a "top down" perspective................He goes so far as to suggest that in some cases, control of wolves is necessary if the goal is to have larger deer herds..............And of course, we on this blog are constantly questioning if inflated deer numbers(for hunter satisfaction) should be the goal of wildlife agencies...........I encourage you reading the article attached!


                                              White-tail Deer

Gray Wolf in Minnesota

Eastern Wolf in Algonquin Park

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