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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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Sunday, February 17, 2013

Glad to see various writers penning articles about their concerns that with our growing population and economic paradigm of growth, growth, growth,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,it is possible that our natural world will shrink to such small proportions that viable populations of indigenous wildlife could cease to roam the planet...............Most writers gravitate to sportsmen license fees as the reason that the wildlife that we do have today exists.............But with only 5% of the USA as registered hunters,,,,,,,,,,some form of general population contribution to open space and wildlife will be necessary if we are to have places like Yellowstone that today support every indigenous creature that roamed that land during the 16th century................And as many contributors to this blog have acknowledged, management of wildlife through State Game Commissions is so thoroughly flawed because only the hunting and ranching segments of the population influence decision-making, rather than the population as a whole

What value would you place on local wildlife? If you answered "little," you're not alone.
Unfortunately, as more Americans gravitate to sedentary pursuits, the future of wildlife grows dimmer.
Without hunting and fishing license revenues, Pitman-Robinson funds (money derived from ammunition and sporting equipment sales) and donations from philanthropic conservation groups to preserve habitat, many forms of wildlife would already be lost.
Realistically, it's usually trouble when wildlife has to depend on public tax money for survival.

map showing protected parkland in the USA

People forget that the United States gradually expanded into our 50 states largely because of wildlife resources. John Jacob Astor built the foundation of his empire on the fur trade. Alaska's selling price was recouped from sea otter pelts and the gears of U.S. industry turned on belts made of buffalo leather.
Before cattle were ranched on a large scale, wildlife was regularly shot and shipped to markets both here and abroad.
But then America got a jolt of reality when the once seemingly endless herds of buffalo, elk, deer and pronghorns quickly disappeared.
However, industries were created by gathering their bones, skulls and horns to make bone meal. With big critters gone, small game picked up the slack.
Waterfowl and wading birds were shot and trapped for food and feathers. Fashionable women's hats sported wings and skins of all species of birds while meat markets sold waterfowl, shorebirds, passenger pigeons and large song birds by the train load.
After 50 years of commercial exploitation, many species of birds and other wildlife became extinct or teetered on the brink until the passing of the Lacey Act in 1900 that blunted market hunting. By 1918, bird and wildlife preserves were created and most species recovered, though not nearly in their former numbers.
Fast forward to the 21st century where human encroachment is hacking at every bit of remaining cover in the haste to make a buck from record grain and land prices. While there are recognized areas set aside for wildlife, many national parks are threatened by old mining and oil exploration laws that permit industrial encroachment.
With safe havens shrinking, can wildlife survive another 100 years?
As long as money can be made by selling or leasing hunting and fishing rights, some areas will fare reasonably well until cities need expansion or a new network of highways are developed.
If you are age 30 or older, you have been witness to the greatest land clearing in modern history with no end in sight. Sixty years ago there were more stands of timber than open fields. Today there is an almost unbroken view from city to city in many areas.
So why don't sportsmen's license fees get used to preserve more ground? In too many states, politicians perennially place sportsmen's license fees into the general fund, effectively preventing new wildlife areas from being funded while keeping existing ones from being properly managed.
Is the future of wildlife to be remnant samples kept in zoos or displayed in museums in taxidermy dioramas?
Man was given dominion over animals but he's doing a poor job with preservation efforts.

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