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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, December 15, 2012

Minnesota's Moose population has fallen nearly 50% since 2005 with only about 4000 animals roaming the state as of this years aerial survey...............As a result, the Minn. Dept of Ntl Resources has proposed that the Moose be added to the state endangered list of animals...........We have discussed numerous times how warming temperatures and our alteration of the landscape has contributed to a perfect storm of debilitating winter ticks and deer brain disease that has caused the Great Lakes Moose to suffer badly over the past 3 to 7 years.............It remains fascinating that the same combination of debilitating factors has thus far not had the same impact on New England and New York State Moose populations which seem to be expanding southward during this same period of time

Minnesota endangered species list expanding

Minnesota's beleaguered moose would be one of 67 animals added to the state's official endangered-species list under a proposal announced Monday by the Department of Natural Resources.

By: John Myers;  Duluth News Tribune
The updated endangered- species list, in the works since 2007 and open to public comment, also includes 114 native plants that resource officials worry are declining.
Under the proposal, expected to be final sometime next year, the state's updated endangered-species list would bulge from 439 species of plants, mammals, insects and other critters to 591 species.

The species of concern status for moose won't limit whether hunting seasons can continue. That would happen if they move to threatened or endangered status. But the move still makes sense, said Ron Moen, a wildlife biologist studying moose at the Natural Resources Research Institute of the University of Minnesota Duluth.

"It doesn't do anything for the species legally. But it means they (DNR) are paying attention to what's going on. It's an official heads-up that something is wrong, even if they aren't endangered yet,'' Moen said.

The DNR begins state protection efforts with designation as a species of concern and then moves to threatened if the animal, insect or plant's population faces serious issues, and finally to endangered if the species faces potential extirpation from the state.

The little brown myotis bat, facing a potentially devastating attack from white nose syndrome fungus already plaguing other states, is being added to the list as a species of concern, as is the big brown bat for the same reason. The lynx forest cat, already on the federal endangered species list as threatened in Minnesota, would make the state list for the first time.

The boreal owl would become a species of concern, as would the northern goshawk, both birds of the Northland's forests, while the loggerhead shrike and horned grebe would move from threatened to full-blown endangered status.

Some species upgraded
But all the news isn't bad. The DNR proposes to end state designation for 15 plants and 14 animals that are doing well — including wolves and bald eagles, which will move completely off the list. The peregrine falcon and trumpeter swan both are being upgraded from threatened to species of concern.

Some species have declined markedly since the last list was compiled, while others simply have been better studied, yielding more accurate population estimates and leading to changes on the list. About two-thirds of all species on the list are seeing declining habitat.
"There's been so much new data collected over the past 10 to 15 years that it's really been a huge data analysis project just to see where we are with so many species,'' Rich Baker, DNR endangered species coordinator, told the News Tribune.

"The best metaphor I can think of is that this list is an emergency room at a hospital. We bring species onto the list to give them the attention and the management and the healing they need so they can someday get off the list,'' Baker said. "It's worked well with species like the wolf and the peregrine falcon and the bald eagle. Now we need to give that attention to a lot of other species."

The updated list includes not just big animals and little fish, but invertebrates, moss, fungi, mollusks and insects like jumping spiders. "Each of these organisms plays a functional role in a healthy natural system," Baker said. "Preserving an endangered species isn't just about that individual species; it's about maintaining the entire ecosystems and habitats in which the species live, and making sure that those ecosystems can continue to function and provide us with their many benefits."

Controversy expected
The agency expects some renewed controversy over species like moose, for which it still allows a hunting season even though the population is declining, and the boreal owl, which requires old-growth forest habitat much like the spotted owl of the Pacific Northwest. That could trigger concerns from Minnesota's forest products industry.

It's illegal to take or possess a state endangered or threatened species on the Minnesota list. Many, but not all, of the state-listed species also have protections under the federal Endangered Species Act.

If a proposed development project — such as roads or buildings — cannot avoid damaging a protected species, the state can issue a "taking permit" that is combined with mitigation, such as funding for research or acquisition of other habitat to protect the same species. Over the past decade, the DNR has received 23 applications for development-related taking permits and approved all but one.

Minnesota first passed an endangered-species law in 1971, with revisions in 1974, 1981 and 1996. The DNR will hold five public meetings across the state on its endangered proposals, including at 6 p.m. Feb. 6 in Duluth in the Gitchee Gumee Conference Center, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Mid-Continent Ecology Division, 6201 Congdon Blvd.

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