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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, February 8, 2013

Energy development, extensive forest clearcutting and snowmobile trails in interior forests are the foundation variables putting a stake into the hearts of Canadian Caribou..............Provincial and federal environmental policy emphasize conservation and rehabilitation of caribou habitat............. Federal documents say caribou need to be able to use at least 65 per cent of their range...............And yet,between 2009 and 2010, the government leased out about 84 per cent of two Alberta townships in the heart of the undisturbed area, with more land sales continuing........... Another 9,000 hectares of land are expected to be leased out by the end of April..................You can pretend that reducing the Wolf population is the key to saving Caribou...............No need to kill wolves if you provide the Caribou with unfragmented forest habitat!

Alberta Environmentalists call on Oil interests to save Caribou

All of Alberta's 15 caribou herds are threatened by
 industrial incursion into the old-growth forest they
require to survive, but the Little Smoky herd in the
 northwest corner of the province may be the worst
 off. The herd is down to its last 100 animals and
 scientists say about 95 per cent of its range is
heavily disturbed by energy and forestry
development, putting the animals in imminent
 danger of dying out.
Provincial and federal environmental policy
 emphasize conservation and rehabilitation
 of caribou habitat. Federal documents say
caribou need to be able to use at least 65
 per cent of their range.
But Alberta Energy has continued to sell off
 energy leases in the remaining 5 per cent
 of the Little Smoky range. That area remains
relatively pristine and is heavily used by the herd.
Tar Sands devlopment creates a moonscape

Between 2009 and 2010, the government leased
 out about 84 per cent of two townships in the
 heart of the undisturbed area and sales continue.
 Another 9,000 hectares of land are expected to be
 leased out by the end of April.
"That just adds more disturbance and makes their
 survival prospects unlikely," Carolyn Campbell,
 the association's conservation specialist, said Wednesday.
"It seems a no-brainer with the Alberta caribou
 policy and the federal recovery strategy that we
need to stop new surface disturbance. These new
 leases just compound the existing problems and the
 existing failure of managing habitat so that herd
has a chance."

Cribou need large continuous unbroken forest  to thrive

Alberta Energy spokesman Mike Deising said
energy leases only involve subsurface rights. Any
 surface activity is subject to additional regulatory
 scrutiny, he said.
"Approving the lease does not guarantee that one
 can develop it. They need to go through a process
and meet all the tests."
Land is put up for oil and gas lease in Alberta through
 requests from industry. Those requests are reviewed
 by both the province's energy and environment
"There's a lot of co-operation with [Environment] on
 the front end and the back end," Mr. Deising said.
 "That's why you will see conditions put on leases."

large clearcuts in interior forests enable deer and
 wolves to usurp Caribou habitat

The Environment Ministry does have the power to deny
 surface access and has done so in the past.
Others in the Energy Department have also pointed
 out that the area for lease in the coming months is
 a tiny fraction of the Little Smoky herd's total range.
They have said, however, that energy companies in
caribou habitat operate under guidelines designed to
 minimize impact. They have also pointed out that the
 area for lease in the coming months is a tiny fraction
 of the Little Smoky herd's total range.
Ms. Campbell responds that the impact of any road,
 cutline or well site extends far beyond its boundaries.
 Research suggests that caribou avoid being within
500 metres of any disturbed area, meaning even a
narrow road cuts a one-kilometre swath through the bush.
Although the Little Smoky caribou have remained
 stable for the past six years, that's largely because
of an extensive program of killing wolves that prey
 on them.
Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource
 Development officials have acknowledged that
 predator management is not a permanent solution.
 Caribou specialists within that department have
 acknowledged that without improvements to
 habitat, the Little Smoky herd is unlikely to survive.

extensive snowmobile trails in interior forests
 provide wolves with easy access to Caribou

That shows who's really in charge of caribou policy,
 Ms. Campbell said.
"It says that Alberta Energy is the dominant driver of
 what goes on in caribou range, and that they're
 ignorant about their own effects. That's highly irresponsible."
Lands are put up for oil and gas lease in Alberta
through requests from industry. Those requests are
reviewed by both the province's energy and environment
The Environment Ministry can impose operating restrictions
 on land with sensitive wildlife requirements. The department
 has the power to block the lease of such land and has done
 so in the past.

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