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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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Monday, March 11, 2013

South Dakota inhaling the "moronic fumes" circulating across the USA as it relates to viewing Wolves as "varmints"...........Yes, for all you baby boomers out there, it is like watching a John Wayne Western movie when you were in grade school and hearing the "Duke" call the bad guys "varmints"..............As we went to college or work in the early 70's with a Dick Nixon (Republican President) signing the Wilderness Act, Clean Water and Clean Air Acts, the thought crossed all of our minds that a regard for wild things and open spaces had leapfrogged POSITIVE-------Somehow we have put the brakes on the supposed environmental progress and reversed gears to the point where we have pulled the "DUKE" out of his grave to remind us that in fact we humans are "varmints" in our complete disregard for all living things other than ourselves............Gov. Dennis Daugaard and his South Dakota legislative allies are the true varmints this week as they are about to approve a bill that would classify wolves as VARMINTS, shootable and trappable on sight year round

Wolf bill likely signed into law today in South Dakota

SPEARFISH — Gov. Dennis Daugaard is expected to sign a bill today that would reclassify wolves from protected species in the state to predators or varmints in East River counties

SB 205 received final Legislative action on Feb. 26 when the House approved it 60-9. It passed in the Senate unanimously 35-0.

Sen. Mike Vhele, R-Mitchell, was the prime sponsor on the bill and Rep. Betty Olson, R-Prairie City, was the prime House sponsor. Olson said Thursday that she had Vehle were invited to the governor's office this morning where the governor is expected to sign the bill into law.
The bill will classify wolves the same as coyotes, foxes, skunks, gophers, ground squirrels, chipmunks, jackrabbits, marmots, porcupines, crows, and prairie dogs, but only in Eastern South Dakota. They will still remain protected by federal and state law West River.
Olson previously sponsored a bill, HB 1132, that would have classified wolves as predators statewide, but said she tabled the bill after SB 205 passed.
In 2012, wolves residing in the Great Lakes population, which includes Eastern South Dakota, were removed from the federal Endangered Species Act. Now the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working on plan that would delist the wolves West River as well.
Wolves don't often roam across South Dakota, however there have been confirmed sightings. Wolves are occasionally killed by vehicles. One was killed in Harding County by a lethal trap set for coyotes and one was shot in 2012 near Custer. Olson said that one was seen just south of her Harding County ranch in February, however that sighting, like most others, lack physical evidence and are not confirmed.
The wolves that do traverse the state come from both the Rocky Mountain packs as well as the Great Lakes packs. They are typically younger males searching out mates and new territory.
Montana officials said that 255 wolves were killed in the 2012-2013 hunting and trapping season. Wyoming reported about 60 wolves killed. In Wisconsin, 117 were killed and in Minnesota, 395 were killed.
Scott Larson, a field supervisor with the Fish and Wildlife Service in Pierre, said a proposed rule by the service regarding the delisting wolves in West River should be issued this spring.
"It will be part of a larger effort," Larson said. "The Rocky Mountain population and the Great Lakes populations have been delisted, but they are protected in most of the Lower 48 where we don't have plans for any recovery efforts. … When you have a recovered population you have transients that move out into area where there is not suitable habitat. It doesn't make any sense to have the protection status different."
But dozens of U.S. House members don't want that to happen.
A letter signed by 52 representatives urged the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to not drop wolves from the endangered species list in areas where it hasn't already been done. The comeback of the wolf populations in the western Great Lakes and the Northern Rockies is "a wildlife success story in the making," the lawmakers said in a letter distributed by Reps. Peter DeFazio of Oregon and Ed Markey of Massachusetts, both Democrats. But it added that because of lingering human prejudice, "federal protection continues to be necessary to ensure that wolf recovery is allowed to proceed in additional parts of the country."
The Fish and Wildlife Service is trying to return wolves to the Southwest, despite court battles and resistance from ranchers. It's also reviewing the status of wolves and their potential habitat in the Pacific Northwest, where perhaps 100 of the animals are believed to roam, and in the Northeast, which has no established population although occasional sightings have been reported.
"The outcome of these reviews will identify which, if any, gray wolves should continue to receive protections under the Endangered Species Act outside of the boundaries of the recovered populations and the Southwest population," agency spokesman Chris Tollefson

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