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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, July 23, 2013

The "big mountain section" of Pennsylvania's Northern Tier is "prime Pennsylvania timber rattlesnake country...................Situated in the gas rich Marcellus Shale(northeastern Pennsylvania) region, can the snakes possibly avoid the habitat alteration that is taking place in the region as the woods get ripped up in pursuit of "GAS TO POWER AMERICA"?



James Chestney, the venomous species coordinator of the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission, says the reptile is endangered or threatened in other northeastern states.
By contrast, he told The (Towanda) Daily Review, the commonwealth has "a good population" of timber rattlesnakes, which he attributed to good management.
Chestney was working on Saturday at the annual rattlesnake hunt at Monroeton Rod & Gun Club in Bradford County, where seven timber rattlesnakes caught earlier in the day in Bradford and Sullivan counties were on display in a pen along with two copperhead snakes. The event also featured food, music, a horseshoe competition and other activities.

Chestney said the "big mountain section" of Pennsylvania's Northern Tier is "prime Pennsylvania timber rattlesnake (country). In fact, all five of Pennsylvania's organized rattlesnake hunts take place in the Northern Tier, including one this weekend in Monroe Township in Bradford County, he said
The area is also a center of a lot of natural gas drilling along the Marcellus Shale, and Chestney said the impact of drilling on the timber rattlesnake population is a concern.
The biggest threats to the population are development, which could include drilling, and "wanton killing" of the reptiles, but Chestney said companies have been working with the agency to protect the snakes.
The concern is that gas companies' construction of roads, pipelines, and well sites could destroy timber rattlesnakes' dens and gestation sites where female snakes gather during the summer to incubate their embryos and give birth.
When a permit is sought, the commission works with the company to preserve such sites, and a gas company might "slightly relocate" a facility to protect a known den, he said.
Timber rattlesnakes use the same den year after year, and it's possible that an existing den could have been used for thousands of years, Chestney said.
"Once a den is gone, it's gone," he said.

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