Visitor Counter

hitwebcounter web counter
Visitors Since Blog Created in March 2010

Click Below to:

Add Blog to Favorites

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)

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Massachusetts State wildlife Officials are showing how informed they are and displaying some "spine" in alerting residents of their state to show tolerance toward the expanding Black Bear population...........Like most of the northeastern states, Massachusetts forest cover shrank to about 20% of it's pre-settlement condition by 1830...............Combined with human persecution, bears were nearly 100% extirpated from the Bay State by the time Thoreau did his writing at Walden Pond..............With farm abandonment starting after the Civil War, woodlands began growing back and by 1970, 100 tough bruins occupied Massachusetts...........That number has increased to about 4000 bears today with the state 2/3 forest covered and with laws in place that forbid the baiting of bears and the use of dogs by hunters.......................Kudos go to the MassWildlife and Environmental Police Large Animal Response Team which only responds to situations where bears turn up in heavily populated areas.............. Given time, a bear usually will just make its way back into the woods.............The Dept. encourages a healthy respect and coexistence as the rule of thumb for residents............. People should just leave well enough alone

 As bears press eastward, state counsels coexistence

Taunton black bear Princess Kate Cir1

Raccoons and foxes? Fine. Coyotes? Old news. Fisher cats? 

Getting used to them. Yet as much as eastern Massachusetts residents might try to coexist with the wildlife roaming through their back yards, few expect to encounter bears raiding their bird feeders.At least twice in the past year, bears have made high-profile appearances well inside the I-495 belt. This spring, an ursine visitor surprised residents and spurred police calls as he roamed through Weston, Wayland, Sudbury and Lincoln.Last summer, wildlife officials removed a bear who had wandered onto Cape Cod, only to find him back in Brookline two weeks later for another date with a tranquilizer dart.

According to the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, or MassWildlife, Bay State residents may have to get used to their furry new neighbors"Bears are moving into eastern Mass., and they will be here to stay, just like coyotes, skunks, foxes and the like," said Marion Larson, MassWildlife chief of information and education.  Technically, the bears were here first.  The animals rambled all over Massachusetts before colonial times, according to Larson, but many vanished as settlers cut back the forest to make way for farming and grazing fields. For many years, black bears also were widely hunted as nuisances that preyed on livestock and crops, as well as for their meat, she said. "Their population shrank and there were just a few out in the Berkshires," Larson said.  By the 1830s, forests covered only about a fifth of the state. That slowly began to change as farmers moved west, migrated to cities or were killed in the Civil War, Larson said.

There were only an estimated 100 bears left in Massachusetts as of the early 1970s, but by then much of their natural habitat had grown back. Today, woods cover nearly two-thirds of the state. Along with decreased hunting, this helped the number of bears reach about 3,000 in 2005, according to MassWildlife, which has been tracking the population since the 1980s.

There is another reason bears are enjoying a rebound: A 1996 ballot question barred the use of dogs in hunting bears in Massachusetts. Hunters also are banned from using bait to lure bears in close, to be shot.

While MassWildlife has extended a November bear hunting season in recent years, these restrictions mean hunters do not kill many of the animals.

"It's difficult to say at this point how that affected our population, but currently, it's something that limits the options available to managers for hunting of bears," said Laura Conlee, a wildlife biologist at MassWildlife.

The population is growing quickly, with an estimated 4,000 black bears in the state today. As their numbers grow, the animals are pushing farther east in search of their sovereign turf.

Female bears have a home range of about 10 square miles, Larson said. Adult males, on the other hand, roam over a territory about 100 miles."It's all about food," Larson said.

While sightings have cropped up farther east, MassWildlife believes larger numbers of bears are living, breeding and raising young no farther east than Groton and Pepperell. But people closer to Boston may yet see more of the animals.

Larson stressed that bears usually are very wary of humans."My mom used to go out with a Chinese gong and yell and holler at them when they were going after her bird feeders," she said. "If she can do it, anybody can."

Taking down those bird feeders in the spring removes a source of bear food and can mean avoiding a run-in with the animals in the first place. Pets and their food also should be kept indoors and it is best not to put trash outside until the day of pickup, Larson said.

Except in emergencies, Larson said she is unsure calling police about a bear is helpful – trying to chase off the animals just stresses them out and can create a riskier situation.

The MassWildlife and Environmental Police Large Animal Response Team only responds to situations where bears turn up in heavily populated areas. Given time, a bear usually will just make its way back into the woods, Larson said.She encouraged a "healthy respect and coexistence."

"We advise people to just leave well enough alone," Larson said.

No comments: