Visitor Counter

hitwebcounter web counter
Visitors Since Blog Created in March 2010

Click Below to:

Add Blog to Favorites

Coyotes-Wolves-Cougars.blogspot.com

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

Subscribe via email to get updates

Enter your email address:

Receive New Posting Alerts

(A Maximum of One Alert Per Day)

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Julia Smith recently completed her Masters Thesis in zoology at Southern Illinois University.........Her paper is entitlted RECOLONIZATION OF THE MIDWESTERN UNITED STATES BY LARGE CARNIVORES: HABITAT SUITABILITY AND HUMAN DIMENSIONS.....................Julia's extensive research and "drill down" included the variables that the most experienced biologists utilize to determine the feasibility of Wolves, Pumas and Bears being able to recolonize and sustain a population------cover type, road density, distance to roads, human density, distance to water and slope.....................Bottom line is that roughly 12% of the entire Midwest can once again "house" all three species if we humans give them a chance to step back into these historical haunts....................Julia, very fine thesis you have crafted here..................Best of luck to you going forward



THESIS APPROVAL
RECOLONIZATION OF THE MIDWESTERN UNITED STATES
BY LARGE CARNIVORES:
HABITAT SUITABILITY AND HUMAN DIMENSIONS
By
Julia B. Smith

A Thesis Submitted in Partial
Fulfillment of the Requirements
for the Degree of
Master of Science
in the field of Zoology
Approved by:
Dr. Clayton K. Nielsen, Co-Chair
Dr. Eric C. Hellgren, Co-Chair
Dr. Mae A. Davenport
Graduate School
Southern Illinois University Carbondale
December 5, 2012

AN ABSTRACT OF THE THESIS OF
JULIA B. SMITH, for the MASTER OF SCIENCE degree in ZOOLOGY, presented on 
December 5, 2012, at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

TITLE: RECOLONIZATION OF THE MIDWESTERN UNITED STATES
BY LARGE CARNIVORES: HABITAT SUITABILITY AND HUMAN DIMENSIONS
MAJOR PROFESSORS: Dr. Clayton K. Nielsen and Dr. Eric C. Hellgren

Large carnivores in the United States are making a comeback following decades of 
systematic eradication. Black bears (Ursus americanus), cougars (Puma concolor), and gray 
wolves (Canis lupus) may recolonize the midwestern United States provided there is substantial 
suitable habitat. However, viability of large carnivore populations is as dependent on social 
acceptance as on biological factors. I developed individual and combined models of suitable 
habitat for black bears, cougars, and wolves in 18 midwestern states using geospatial data, 
expert-opinion surveys, and multi-criteria evaluation. I also assessed attitudes and perceptions of 
Illinois citizens about large carnivores via a mail-in survey.













Experts indicated land cover was the 
most important variable for predicting potential habitat for black bears and cougars; human
density was the most influential variable for wolves. Large, contiguous areas of suitable habitat 
comprised 35%, 21%, and 13% of the study region for wolves, bears, and cougars, respectively. 
About 12% of the region was considered suitable for all 3 species. Arkansas, Minnesota, Texas, 
and Wisconsin had the highest proportions (>40%) of suitable habitat for black bears; Arkansas, 
Michigan, Missouri, Texas, and Wisconsin had the most (≥20%) suitable cougar habitat; and 
only 4 states in the study region contained <29% suitable wolf habitat. Models were validated by 
comparing suitability values of independent sets of known carnivore locations to those of 
random locations, and models appeared accurate. More than 70% of survey respondents (n = 
791) were male and their average age was 60; 55% were hunters. Approximately 40% were ii
unsure about the population status of large carnivores in Illinois; of the remaining respondents, 
most (ranging from 20% for black bears to 41% for cougars) believed the presence of all 3 
species had increased over the past decade.















More residents supported protection (43%) and 
increasing numbers of large carnivores (39%) than opposed them (26%), although support for 
black bears was slightly higher than for cougars and wolves. Rural residents and livestock 
owners were the most likely to want carnivore numbers to decrease and least likely to support 
their protection; higher levels of education corresponded to positive attitudes toward large 
carnivores. My research provides the foundation for well-informed management plans, policy 
decisions, and educational initiatives for large carnivores in midwestern states where large 
carnivore populations have been absent for decades.










CLICK ON TAB BELOW..........THEN, CLICK ON THE URL COORDINATES TO READ JULIA'S ENTIRE THESIS

2 comments:

Julia Smith said...

Hi Rick,

This is Julia; thank you for reading and posting!

Rick Meril said...

Julia,,,,,,,,,,,,I enjoyed your thesis very much............Happy to Post future papers by you!