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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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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Dave Wilson is the executive director of the Maryland Coastal Bays Program...... Professor Aaron Hogue teaches mammalogy at Salisbury University...............Both men see Coyotes as true "positives for Maryland's biodiversity..........Coyotes feed on white tail mice(hosts for the lymes tics), so lymes disease is mitigated,,,,,,,,,,,,,they reduce the population of foxes, raccoons and oppossums, thus helping ground nesting birds rejuvenate their populations.............As Coyotes will kill fawns, they help reduce the out-of-control deer populations which are denuding the woodlands of tree seedlings, shrubs and groundcover plants.................and there is a case to be made that Coyotes actually promote the growth of larger sized deer------as the two Researchers put it----"Human hunting for white-tailed deer is critical to controlling populations, but it has proven unable to keep pace with explosive reproduction".......... "During the past few hundred years, hunting has resulted in genetically smaller deer due to our appetite for hunting big bucks".............. "By taking smaller deer, coyotes help restore the natural order by exerting selection pressure on smaller, slower growing deer which, in turn, results in larger deer"............ "In short, more coyotes mean bigger deer.!!!!!!!"

Coyotes help restore ecological diversity

Dave wilson;oceanpines

Few animals could
help restore
 the biological
 integrity of Eastern 
Shore woodlands
 better than coyotes.
Before Europeans
arrived several 
hundred years ago,
 Delmarva was
 home to a variety
 of large mammalian
 carnivores. These
 included black bears,
 cougars, gray wolves
 and bobcats. 
Today, these species
are gone.
This has left an
 enormous ecological
 void with significant
 negative consequences.
 Top predators perform
 an essential role in 
regulating prey
populations, controlling
 invasive species,
reducing disease hosts
 and substantially
 improving wildlife diversity.

On the Eastern Shore,
 the demise of these 
wild predators has
 likely increased the 
prevalence of Lyme
 disease and drastically 
increased raccoon,
red fox and opossum
 populations while
 bludgeoning populations 
of quail and other
 ground-nesting bird
 A favorite prey of
coyotes, white-footed
 are the primary vector
 for Lyme disease. The 
return of coyotes could
 help quell the scourge 
of the disease on the Shore.

Because coyotes eat
 and directly compete
 red foxes, raccoons
and opossum, the return 
of the higher order
predator in the eastern
 has helped control the
bloated populations of
 these three species.
 Scientists blame the
trio for
 the declines in
ground-nesting bird
 species due
 to their appetite for
 eggs and chicks.
These include
 quail, woodcock,
 Kentucky warblers
 and wood 
thrushes, to name
 a few. Decades
ago, it was also
 assumed that
coyotes could
 control feral cat 
populations, but
 studies suggest
predation from
 foxes and rabies
 infection from
raccoon bites
 are more of a
 threat to outdoor
 cats than coyotes.
Smart and social
 like domesticated dogs,
 coyotes will also take
 small deer, the primary
 cause of diversity
 decline in the remaining 
forests on Delmarva.
Hunting for white-tailed
 deer is critical to
controlling populations,
 but it has proven unable
 to keep pace with 
explosive reproduction.
 During the past few
 hundred years, hunting
has resulted in
 genetically smaller
deer due to our appetite
 for hunting big bucks.
 By taking smaller deer,
 coyotes help restore
 the natural order by
 exerting selection
 pressure on smaller, 
slower growing deer
 which, in turn, 
results in larger
deer. In short, more 
coyotes mean bigger

But it also means
less deer browsing. 
From a biologist's
standpoint, this is
 perhaps the biggest
 benefit of the canids.
 White-tailed deer
have drastically altered 
the forest composition
 on the Shore. The
 proliferation of
invasive multi-flora
Russian olive,
 phragmites and
honeysuckle, plus
 the loss in diversity 
from the deciduous
herbivores, has changed
 forest composition,
 straining populations
of birds, amphibians
 and native plants.
In the past few hundred
 years, coyotes have
 spread east, making
 it to the northern neck
 of Delmarva around
 1921, and are now found 
in every county on the
 Eastern Shore. At present,
 they are one of only two
species allowed by the 
Maryland Department of
 Natural Resources to be
 hunted statewide during
daylight hours year-round 
with no bag limits. The only
 other species with 
such permissive regulations
 is the introduced 
and ecologically destructive
Given their potential to fill
 the niche left wide 
open by the extirpation of
large carnivores,
 the state should consider
 espousing a role of
 promoting biological
 diversity. Maryland has 
done an excellent job
of expanding hunting 
seasons for white-tailed
deer, resident Canada
 geese and other
 biologically destructive
 species. It should
consider the opposite 
for those that increase
diversity. The move
 would ultimately
 those of us who
 hunt and fish.
A primary role of
 the Coastal Bays
 Program is to
 help restore the
 biological integrity
 and the rich 
natural beauty of
 the barrier island
 estuary. To do
 this we have to put
science over superstition
 allow reason and
morality to trump
childhood fairytales.
Perhaps it is time to
welcome fascinating and
 misunderstood animals,
 rather than revile and
 exterminate them as
 we did their predecessors.

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