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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, October 24, 2012

In Alaska, the typical Moose mortality each year for new born calves is about 50%...........This past year in the Kenai Peninsual, the Alaska Dept of fish & Game lost 83% of the Moose Calves that they had tagged for study(45 of 54 died).................26 of the 45 deaths were attributed to Brown and Black Bears with Wolves or Coyotes taking 1 calf................Biologist Thomas McDonough issued a disciplined and knowing statement that the record snowfalls in the region this past Winter might have assisted the Bears in making easier kills............One year of findings is not enough to make a trend and additional years of study will be needed to determine if the Winter of 2011-12 was an anomaly as it relates to Moose population dynamics

Study: Moose calf survival low

Eighty-three percent of the moose calves collared this year in an Alaska Department of Fish and Game calf mortality study died, according to the study's findings.The study started in February as a subcomponent to an ongoing examination of the moose populations in Game Management Units 15A and 15C on the Kenai Peninsula, areas targeted for intensive management, said Jeff Selinger, Fish and Game Kenai area wildlife biologist.

"When you're looking at populations, one of the most important things you can look at is how many animals are coming in and how many are going out," Selinger said.
The study, which collared 54 calves, was conducted only in Unit 15C, spanning an area south of Tustumena Lake and west of the Kenai Fjords National Park. Of those 54 calves biologists collared, 45 died, according to the study.

Brown Bear feeding on Moose

Selinger said most wildlife populations in Alaska loose about half their moose calves in their first three to six weeks of life, but the number of deaths in 15C is high.

The preliminary study results show that of the 54 calves that died, brown bears killed 19.
Of the other deaths, black bears killed two, an undetermined bear species killed five, wolves or coyotes killed one, an unknown predator killed three, disease killed one, three drowned, four died from unknown causes, and researchers caused seven deaths when they frightened the cows into abandoning their calves.

The study's principal investigator, Thomas McDonough, a research biologist for Fish and Game, said the death distributions may change pending further analysis of kill-site evidence, but the "bottom line," Selinger said, is bears kill a majority of moose calves in their first six weeks of life.Before Selinger and McDonough conducted the study, they said they knew bears would account for the majority of calf deaths. Predators in general, McDonough said, are a major limiting factor on moose populations.

But, McDonough said, the question is, "Is it the main factor?"
Neither Selinger nor McDonough said they can answer that question now."You need to do this for several years to see if there's a pattern," Selinger said. "We just finished a record snow level on the Kenai last year. That may play into these statistics. Maybe this'll be what we see on annual basis, but we can not come out and say this is the norm."

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