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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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Saturday, June 1, 2013

Predator Control Programs are egregious and early 20th century in intensity in Alaska where carnivores are viewed as a lower form of life than rats.................The opposite of Aldo Leopold thinking("Only the mountain knew what the loss of the wolf would mean) is on daily display in Alaska where bears and Wolves are wiped from the landscape with the same objective in mind as when you and I vacuum our bedroom carpets----LEAVE NO DUST BEHIND!---85 Black Bears and 4 Grizzlies blown away in Western Interior Alaska so that for several years, "a measurable but not permanent effect" on the Moose population will have been recognized at a taxpayer cost of $230,000------In addition, over the past 10 years, a wolf eradication program has resulted in 150 wolves killed but interesting enough, "has not had a measureable effect on the Moose population"----Of course, the root reasons for Moose decline in Alaska is never discussed by Wildlife Officials there,,,,,,,,,,,,,,habitat alteration, heavy handed human hunting seasons, warming temperatures and tic impacts on Moose do not seem to be part of the discussion in our "last frontier" state--------------Truly a sad commentary on "America the beautiful" up north

89 bears killed in Alaska predator control program

FAIRBANKS - State wildlife biologists from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game recently killed almost 90 bears and delivered nearly 4 tons of bear meat to residents in eight villages in western Interior Alaska as part of a predator control program designed to increase the number of moose in the area.
Fish and Game staff shot 89 bears — 84 black bears and five grizzlies — in game management unit 19A along the Kuskokwim River during a two-week program that began on May 13 and ended Monday. The area is about 300 miles southwest of Fairbanks.

Biologists shot the bears from a helicopter in a 530-square mile area of state land that is a small part of unit 19A, which encompasses nearly 10,000 square miles east of Aniak.
black bear
The goal of the program was to reduce the number of bears in the area as low as possible, Fish and Game spokeswoman Cathie Harms said. It was the first year of a two-year predator control program approved by the Alaska Board of Game last spring at the request of local residents concerned about low moose numbers.
The nearly 8,000 pounds of meat from the bears, valued at approximately $80,000, was distributed to villagers in Aniak, Chuathbaluk, Crooked Creek, Lime Village, Kalskag, Red Devil, Sleetmute and Stony River, Harms said.
The bears ranged in age from yearlings to mature adults. Biologists avoided shooting sows with cubs of the year. Hides from larger bears were sent to Fairbanks and will be sold at the annual fur auction in Fairbanks in March.
Removal of the bears, which cost approximately $230,000, should boost survival of moose calves in the area, Harms said.
“Bears are most efficient at taking young moose, so calves being born now will have a much higher chance of survival,” she said. “Once calves have survived a year, they’re not as vulnerable.”
black bear
The program won’t have a permanent effect on the moose population, but it should have a measurable effect for several years, Harms said. The department will conduct moose surveys to monitor the population.
“Within the next year or two we should be able to see an increase in moose numbers,” she said.
The bear control area previously was the best moose hunting area in all of unit 19A, but the moose population has declined dramatically in recent years. Most of the unit has been closed to moose hunting since 2005, and only a few subsistence hunts remain open.  The moose harvest in all of unit 19A has averaged between 75 and 100 moose the past five years. The harvest objective set by the Board of Game for the unit is 400 to 550 moose.
A wolf control program has been in effect in a larger portion of unit 19A since 2004 but has not had a measurable effect on the moose population, Harms said. Approximately 150 wolves have been killed in the area in the past 10 years, she said. Most of the bear control area was within a larger wolf control area.
While biologists knew there were many more black bears than grizzly bears in the area, they didn’t know how many bears were in the area before the program started or how many they would find, Harms said.
“Early estimates were we could take anywhere from 50 to 120 bears,” she said.
The bear control area is so small that killing 89 bears won’t have an effect on the overall bear population in the unit, she said.
The department considered other management options for killing the bears, but they either didn’t work or weren’t feasible, Harms said. The Board of Game liberalized hunting and trapping seasons for bears and wolves in the area, but harvests weren’t high enough to affect predator populations, she said.
Issuing permits to snare bears was also considered, but public snaring programs in other parts of the state have not been successful, Harms said. Live-trapping and relocating the bears was also considered, but finding acceptable release sites was practically impossible, she said. Residents in most areas of the state don’t want more bears.
“We really don’t have a place to put them,” Harms said. “We just can’t relocate that many.”
Residents in the eight villages where the bear meat was distributed were extremely grateful, she said. This is a lean time of year in rural Alaska and transportation for hunting and fishing is difficult, Harms said.
“The fresh meat was incredibly welcome,” she said. “People were really happy.”

Bear Control by the Numbers
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game recently conducted a predator control program in game management unit 19A along the Kuskokwim River in the western Interior targeting bears. Here is a look at some of the numbers.
89 — Total bears killed
84 — Black bears killed
5 — Grizzly bears killed
530 — Size of the control area in square miles
8,000 — Approximate pounds of bear meat distributed to residents in eight villages.
80,000 — Amount in dollars the bear meat was valued at
230,000 — Amount in dollars the program cost

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