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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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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Exciting to know that a large # of Polar Bear dens have been verified along the Hudson Bay coast near the Ontario/Manitoba border................With the temperatures melting the ice that the bears depend on to hunt seals and rest on, a 3-year study is beginning to determine the long term probability of this new "clutch" of bear dens producing cubs that survive into the future

Conservation officers find more polar bear dens near Manitoba-Ontario boundary

 WINNIPEG - Manitoba conservation officials have stumbled across a pleasant surprise — a large number of polar bear dens along the Hudson Bay coast near the Ontario boundary. The dens lie in an area southeast of Wapusk National Park and east of the Nelson River. It's a region along the southern end of the polar bear's range and not as well-known as Wapusk, Churchill and other areas to the north. "We've always known that there are dens in there ... but not to this extent," said Daryll Hedman, the regional wildlife manager for northeast Manitoba. "We have a fairly large number of denning females in there, equal to or even maybe surpassing Wapusk National Park, so it's fairly exciting news."

Female polar bears dig the dens in the ground to give birth. The discovery could be a sign that the polar bear population in the area is in good shape, at least for now. The province is beginning a three-year study to get more detail. "'For now' might be a fair statement, but that ice-free period is getting longer each year."

The area's polar bears are threatened by a shrinking feeding season. The amount of time every year that ice covers that stretch of Hudson Bay, allowing the bears to hunt seals, has been reduced by three weeks. That makes it harder for female bears to gain enough weight to give birth.

Climate change is also affecting the permafrost the bears use for their dens. Dens do not collapse under permanently frozen ground, but scientists are worried warming temperatures will cause the permafrost to recede northward.

Not everyone agrees that polar bears are in trouble. The Nunavut government released a survey earlier this year that said Canada's polar bear population hasn't significantly declined in the last seven years as predicted.

The aerial survey estimated the western Hudson Bay bear population at around 1,000. That's about the same number of bears found in a more detailed study done in 2004. That study, which physically tagged the bears, predicted the number would decline to about 650 by 2011.

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