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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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Friday, January 4, 2013

Interesting it always is to learn how all things are connected in some fashion.............The EHD virus that infects and kills deer seems to be spreading northward as mild winters and drought laced Summers become more and more the norm due to global warming.............The Chicago area has seen a 70% die off in their white-tail deer population this year due to EHD and the Coyotes in the region have feasted on their remains..............It will be interesting to see if a hard and snowy winter knocks down the Coyote population now that a key food source(deer) are at an all time low..................As the article below suggests, Coyotes are the ultimate omnivore and will eat just about anything.............Here is betting that the deer shortage does not advesely impact one of the most resourceful creatures on the planet--C.latrans(and in the east C.latrans x lycaon)

Harsh winter would be tough on area coyotes
5-26-10  At Poplar Creek Forest Preserve   Cook County forest preserve district biologists take careful datcaptured 3 pups
At Poplar Creek Forest Preserve , Cook County forest preserve district biologists take careful data on the captured 3 pups before releasing them back to their den. The 3 coyoite pups ... two were female and one was male. sun-times photo by al podgorski
EHD facts
EHD does not affect humans or impact the safety of consumed deer.
EHD is caused by the bite of an infected midge; once there has been a hard freeze, the insects die off for the winter, eliminating new cases of EHD.
It's the most significant disease of white-tailed deer in the United States
It's most prevalent in Southeastern United States.
Outbreaks often are associated with drought.
It can result in high deer mortality in some areas (usually 25 percent, but up to 50 percent in rare instances).
Source: Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife

A virus that killed hundreds of white-tailed deer in parts of northeastern Illinois means coyotes here are heading into winter fat and happy. But the die-off last fall that left numerous carcasses for coyotes to eat means there will be fewer deer around this winter for the hungry critters to scavenge.
And if the weather turns cold and snowy, that will put unusual pressure on the coyotes to find something — anything — to eat, biologists say. "If we get a real winter — a severe winter — they're going to be very hard-pressed," said Chris Anchor, a wildlife biologist for the Cook County Forest Preserve District. "There's going to be less food."

So scientists will be paying very close attention to how the animals respond. They're expected to adapt by eating everything from plants to rodents to garbage, but it isn't unthinkable that their numbers will drop.The forest preserve district has been involved for more than 12 years in the Cook County Urban Coyote Study, the nation's most comprehensive look at the increasingly common canines.
During that span, Anchor and other biologists have captured and tagged more than 660 coyotes in Cook County in an effort to track where they live and what conflicts they cause with people and pets.

But the situation the animals face now is unusual because of a near-perfect storm of environmental factors, including last year's mild winter and dry summer. The weather may have created ideal conditions to spread the epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD), virus, which is deadly to white-tailed deer, although it doesn't usually strike in the Chicago area.
This year, the virus may have killed as many as 70 percent of the deer living in northern Cook County, Anchor said.

Coyotes aren't affected by the virus but have feasted in recent months on the carcasses of deer stricken by it.The question heading into winter is how the coyotes will fare with one of their staple food sources dramatically reduced."Everything's been scavenged now," Anchor said. "They're going to have far fewer roadkill around here. They're going to be hit hard."
That's especially true if the Chicago area eventually gets heavy snow, Anchor said.
"If we get 10, 20 inches, they have a much harder time hunting the fields," he said.

Nobody expects coyotes to disappear from the area slammed by the EHD virus, simply because the canines eat so many different things."If one food supply dries up, they can move on to another," said Gina Farr, a spokeswoman for Project Coyote, a California-based advocacy group. "They're probably one of the most resilient animals out there."
The critters aren't picky about their meals — they'll eat anything from rodents to unwary pets, deer carcasses or household garbage.

coyotes can practically become vegetarians if necessary, subsisting on plant bark, roots, and even juniper berries."One of the reasons they are so successful is they are true omnivores," Farr said, citing a study that found about 100 different types of food in the droppings and stomachs of coyotes.\

Still, Anchor and other biologists will be watching to see if the number of coyotes drops in the area hardest hit by the EHD virus."Right now, they don't need to do anything because they're fat and happy," said Anchor. "But come February, it's going to be real interesting."

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