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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, October 27, 2012

I live on the border of Los Angeles and Ventura County, outside of Los Angeles,,,,,,This is where the San Fernando Valley transitions into the Conejo Valley running 25 to 50 miles north up the 101 freeway out of the "City of Angels" straight up the coast to Santa Barbara............Seth Riley is a biologist for the National Park Service(Santa Monica National Recreation Area) and is the areas expert on urban carnivores.......... Seth has conducted extensive research on the Pumas, Coyotes and Bobcats that call this region home...........This heavily populated suburban and exurban region has many pockets of protected open space that has allowed this particular suite of carnivores to persist into the 21st century........Through Seth's research, area Politicians and Urban Planners continue to try and link up the greenspaces and provide "life corridors" across both the land and the extensive freeway system.........In addition to landscape alteration and fractionalization, we have discussed in previous Posts the increasing threat that we homeowners have brought upon carnivores through the use of rat poisons in and around our homes-------The rodenticides increase in potency as the Coyotes, Bobcats and Pumas kill and eat the mice, voles and other rodents that we initially targeted with the poisons--------- the unintended result being that the carnivores begin to internally bleed to death-------- And if the bleeding doesn't kill the animals, then the onslaught of the mange virus (which kicks in after poison ingestion)does the job of weakening and eventually killing our wild "cats and dogs"..........The greater Los Angeles basin is an "up close and in person look" at what wildlife face across the increasing urban interface that rings our major metropolitan areas--------If we can find a way to modify our rodent killing procedures and create connective open space, wildlife will continue to be a wonderful part of our existance--------We have the ability to both caretake as well as to snuff out other lifeforms---------Can we rise to the occasion and do the former????

Experts say wildlife survives in rural pockets of county urban areas

By Rachel McGrath; 

Coyotes and bobcats and to a lesser extent mountain lions are adapting to the urbanization of the Conejo Valley and surviving in pockets of open space in the increasingly fragmented landscape.That was the message from wildlife experts at a free seminar Tuesday at Westlake Village City Hall.

"How to Coexist with Wildlife" taught the public about the activities and survival of carnivores in the wild and offered advice on discouraging wild animals from taking up residence in backyards. Seth Riley, a wildlife ecologist with the National Park Service and a professor at UCLA, has studied the movements of carnivores in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area since 1996. Coyotes have been found living around Medea Creek in Oak Park, near Cheeseboro and Palo Comado canyons, and in the botanic gardens and an area between highways 101 and 23 in Thousand Oaks. They also live in an area bordered by Thousand Oaks Boulevard, Hillcrest Road and Conejo School Road and in the open space between Lindero Canyon and Kanan roads.

Coyote trotting in the backyards of a California housing complex

"They're finding these little bits of remaining areas within the landscape," Riley said. Of 110 coyotes tracked by radio collar, none has become a nuisance or threatened humans, experts said. Between 1996 and 2012, researchers also handled 297 bobcats and fitted radio tracking devices to 160 of them. Among the smaller mountain lion population, 26 animals have been tracked in the past 11 years. Their home range is much greater, from the Los Padres National Forest to the Simi Valley hills and Santa Monica Mountains.

Mountain lions have been tracked around Lakeview Canyon and the North Ranch golf course, as far west as Point Mugu State Park and Calleguas Creek in Camarillo, and regularly crossing under Highway 118 at Rocky Peak near Simi Valley.Research indicates mountain lions tend to stay at least 2 kilometers from urban areas.

a bobcat foraging in a suburban backyard

A growing cause of death for all these carnivores is rodent poison that contains anticoagulants, Riley said. When ingested, it can cause an animal to bleed to death internally.More than three-quarters of coyotes that were tested came back positive for anticoagulants.

About 10 years ago, Riley said, bobcats began showing signs of mange, something never seen. All had been exposed to anticoagulants, and 24 of the 26 animals that died from mange had been exposed to high levels.
Mountain lions, too, are showing signs of exposure to rodent poison. In 2004, two mountain lions died from anticoagulant poisoning, and both had killed coyotes in the month before they died. Nine of 10 mountain lions tested had been exposed to multiple anticoagulant compounds.

Several mountain lions have been killed by vehicles on Highway 118, Interstate 405 and Malibu Canyon Road, but the biggest cause of death is other mountain lions, Riley said."When these young males try to disperse, they go out to the edges of the mountains, or they go up against the freeway, and they can't get anywhere else, and then they end up running into their father or other adult males and getting into these fights," he said.

Puma coming over a wall in San Diego neighborhood

Cindy Reyes, executive director of the California Wildlife Center, said it receives about 10,000 calls a year from the public with questions and concerns. She said raccoons and skunks are most likely to come into contact with humans as they look for food, water and shelter.

Her tips for minimizing conflict include never intentionally feeding wildlife, keeping uneaten pet food inside, collecting fallen fruit, picking fruit and vegetables when ripe, keeping small pets inside and using motion-activated deterrents or ground-level bright lights.

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