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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, July 15, 2013

Black Bears in California's San Luis Obispo and Monterey counties are being "hair snagged" to determine the population size, habitat patterns and potential conflict points with humans......................California was once the home of the most prolific population of Grizzlies in the USA prior to the Gold Rush period of the 1850's...................They were completely extirpated from the state by the latter stages of the 19th Century,............... The Black Bears that once were sympatric with the Griz have found a way to endure and spread out across the state.............. They often come into populated areas as drier conditions have settled into large portions of their range............That is why this hair snag project is so important---to give the bears enough habitat to roam

California Department of Fish and Wildlife Conducts Black Bear Study Along Central Coast
Scientists Splitting Hairs to Estimate Population and Breeding Patterns
 The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is conducting a multi-year population study on black bears in San Luis Obispo and Monterey counties.
CDFW researchers are collecting bear hair this summer in San Luis Obispo County with non-invasive hair snags. DNA from the hair will be analyzed in a laboratory.
"With residential development encroaching further into bear habitat, it's critical that we gain some scientific insight into California's black bear population," said CDFW state bear program coordinator, Marc Kenyon. "Understanding this expanding population will help us make informed planning decisions that are in the best interest of the bears."

Samples are collected with hair snags: small barbwire corrals with non-consumable bait placed in the middle. As the bear passes through the wire to investigate the bait made from fermented fish and steer blood, the barbed wire gently pulls hair samples.
Scientists check and re-bait traps on a weekly basis, collecting hair specimens and sending them to the UC Davis Wildlife Genetics and Population Health Lab for testing and analysis.
"Extracting DNA from hair follicles allows us to identify unique individual profiles of bears, explore familial relations, breeding trends as well as gain insight into black bear movement patterns," said UC Davis associate professor Holly Ernest.
Hair sampling is one of the most cost-effective and increasingly common methods of estimating abundance and density of bears on local scales. The method, known as capture–mark-recapture, is commonly used to estimate population sizes of wildlife, particularly when a complete head count is not possible.
Population size is estimated when a portion of the population is "captured" via a hair snag, "marked" by a DNA profile and "recaptured" when hair from the same animal is collected again. By evaluating the proportion of bears whose hair is collected repeatedly to the total number of bears sampled, scientists can estimate population size and identify general trends.
CDFW researchers plan to continue collecting hair samples into August and then will move operations north to Monterey County this fall.

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