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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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Saturday, August 11, 2012

Caribou, once thought to be the the most abundant ungulate in Maine along with Moose were killed out and gone from Maine by the turn of the 20th century...........In both 1963 and 1989, about two dozen Caribou were airlifted from New Foundland and released into the woodlands of Maine only to be extirpated by disease and predation by black bears and Coyotes...........A much larger herd would have had to be inserted for a restoration effort to be successful based on the disturbed and fragmented forest habitat that now earmarks Maine..............It is interesting to note that the English explorer, John Josselyn, wrote in his famous "NEW ENGLAND RARITIES" book (publlished in 1674 and considered one of the first natural history source publications of New England) "THE MACCARIB OR CARIBOU IS NOWHERE TO BE FOUND BUT UPON CAPE SABLE IN THE FRENCH QUARTERS, AND THERE RARELY,",, "THEY BEING NOT NUMEROUS";,,,, "SOME OF THE SKINS AND THEIR STRAIGHT HORNS ARE BUT VERY SPARINGLY BROUGHT TO THE ENGLISH".............Maine Fur-Buyer, hunter and naturalist Manly Hardy who wrote extensively of Maine's wildlife during the mid and late 19th century said: "IT WOULD SEEM QUITE CERTAIN THAT FROM 1638 TO 1672 THAT THERE WERE NO CARIBOU IN NEW ENGLAND",,,, "AND AS BOTH WOOD AND ROGER WILLIAMS SPEAK OF THE VIRGINIA DEER AND MOOSE",,,,, "NEITHER OF THEM MAKE ANY MENTION OF HAVING HEARD OF THE CARIBOU"................"HOWEVER MY FATHER HAS TOLD ME OF CARIBOU BEING FOUND ON THE PASSADUMKEAG, SOME 30 MILES NORTHEAST OF BANGOR BETWEEN 1825 AND 1830"......."SOMETIME ABOUT 1840, THEY BEGAN TO APPEAR IN LARGE DROVES ON CHEMO BOG, SOME 14 MILES FROM BANGOR, AND ON ALL OF THE LARGE BOGS TO THE EAST OF US"

Predators Kill Maine's Caribou Restoration Effort

The organizer of a private effort to restore caribou to the wilds of Maine, where that deer species has been largely extinct for about 80 years, says the project has failed, a victim of predators.
The organizer, the Maine Caribou Project Inc., announced Wednesday that it was abandoning the four-year-old effort. Project officials said they doubted that they could raise the money needed to transplant enough caribou to create a self-sustaining herd.
Of the 32 caribou released in Maine, 25 are confirmed dead -- 12 killed by bears or coyotes. The remaining seven are unaccounted for, but biologists believe that only two or three are alive and that the caribou have apparently lost the radio collars used to keep track of them.
Four caribou calves were born in the wild. Two died of unknown causes; the others were killed by a bear and a bobcat. Excessive Hunting and Disease
Caribou once were so abundant in Maine's north woods that a city was named after the animal. But excessive hunting and disease left them extinct in Maine more than 80 years ago.
The restoration effort, which began with a caribou roundup in a remote corner of Newfoundland, was the second since 1963.
When the latest caribou releases were planned, the project leaders' principal concern was the brainworm, a deadly parasite.
Richard B. Anderson, a project spokesman, said none of the biologists had anticipated how critical the threat of bears threat would be.
"I think it's possible to restore the caribou to its former range," he added. "But you need a lot of animals."
But that would take more money than project leaders believe they can raise in a weakening economy.
Biologists believe they would need 50 to 100 more caribou to succeed, but it would cost $300,000 to capture, transport and monitor that many animals. The project officially ends Dec. 31. Need Is Seen for Wide Support

"We have come to realize that only under an extraordinary set of circumstances would it have been possible to complete a project of this magnitude without organizational and financial support of Federal or state wildlife agencies," project leaders said.
The project's failure shows that money "is far better spent to conserve Maine's endangered species today, while they still exist," they said.
The leaders said they would share information with officials in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Idaho, where similar projects are proposed or under way.
The last caribou from a native Maine herd was sighted on mile-high Mount Katahdin in 1908.

In 1963 two dozen caribou were released in Baxter State Park in northern Maine. All of them disappeared because of poaching, disease, predators and natural dispersal, biologists believe.

In 1986 more than two dozen caribou in Newfoundland were shot with tranquilizer darts and transferred by helicopter and in trucks to enclosures at the University of Maine in Orono, 1,200 miles away.

Biologists kept this "nursery herd" in Orono to breed young caribou to be released in the state. Of the dozen released in Baxter park in April 1989, only one was known to have survived by the end of that year.

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