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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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Thursday, July 18, 2013

There has been a sharp rise in the Ohio's coyote population during the past 20 years, seemly at the expense of foxes....................... According to the annual ODNR bowhunters survey (taken in rural areas), 18 red foxes and three coyotes were seen per 1,000 hours in the field by hunters in 1990................ By 2011, the numbers had reversed: seven red foxes and 16 coyotes were seen (Gray foxes also are found in the state but more commonly in wooded, hilly areas of southeastern Ohio----Also, Gray Foxes can climb trees, whereas red foxes are not climbers----a handicap when fleeing coyotes)............... Surveys of Ohio fur-buyers tell a similarly dramatic story: In 1980, furriers bought about 18,000 red-fox pelts and 28 coyote pelts from Ohio trappers; in 2010, they bought about 1,700 red-fox pelts and more than 3,000 coyote pelts......................It is a well known fact that Gray Wolves will kill Coyotes that wander into their territory and Coyotes do the same to Foxes.................As a result, foxes are more and more raising their young closer to human habitats and dwellings where they feel safer from Coyotes.................Coyotes also will den in and around humans so the foxes do not have a fail safe refuge in our neighborhoods............It is likely at the time of settlement, that both gray and eastern wolves occupied Ohio, with Coyotes not yet in the state.................I would venture to say that the foxes living in 1600AD Ohio were also pursued by Wolves and conceivably had population numbers more similar to their modern day fox cousins.................The 20th century fox count was almost certainly artificially inflated by wolves, coyotes and pumas being absent from Ohio

Foxes seek refuge

from coyotes in suburbs
When they're not playing, foxes have been migrating to cities and suburbs to distance themselves from coyotes.

For more than a month, Tricia and Bryan Mahoney
 have seen a show play out each evening around sunset.
One by one, as many as eight young foxes pop out
 from under the Mahoneys' deck and convert their
 Worthington yard into a prancing playground.
Although the animals seem carefree, their presence
 in the suburban neighborhood — a few blocks west
 of the city's downtown — is actually a sign of 
desperation, say officials of the Ohio Department of
 Natural Resources.

Foxes have been migrating to cities and suburbs to 
seek shelter from coyotes, which kill their smaller
 canine cousins because they compete for the same
 food: mice, chipmunks, rabbits and squirrels.
"Red foxes seem to be spending more time near
 development and humans, particularly when they
 are rearing young," said Suzanne Prange, a wildlife
 research biologist in ODNR's Athens office.

"I believe this is in response to an increase in coyotes. 
Foxes are smart, and they have figured out that they
 and their pups are safer near humans, where coyotes
 are less dense."

The sharp rise in the state's coyote population during
 the past 20 years has come at the expense of foxes.
According to the annual ODNR bowhunters survey 
(taken in rural areas), 18 red foxes and three coyotes
 were seen per 1,000 hours in the field by hunters in 
1990. By 2011, the numbers had reversed: seven red
 foxes and 16 coyotes were seen. (Gray foxes also are
 found in the state but more commonly in wooded, hilly
 areas of southeastern Ohio.)

Surveys of Ohio fur-buyers tell a similarly dramatic story:
 In 1980, furriers bought about 18,000 red-fox pelts and 
28 coyote pelts from Ohio trappers; in 2010, they bought
 about 1,700 red-fox pelts and more than 3,000 coyote pelts
Both Prange and critter-control experts say foxes are
 relatively harmless backyard neighbors, despite occasional
 news stories about the animals attacking a house pet or
 even a child.
Such incidents, experts say, are rare.
"There's really not much to be concerned about," Prange said. 
"They're only 12 to 15 pounds. My house cat weighs more. 
They're a lot of fur; there's not much to them. Unless you 
have a chicken coop in your yard, they're not much to worry

Adam Turpen, a manager with SCRAM wildlife control in 
Columbus, agreed that foxes typically tolerate house pets. 
Still, he advised against feeding pets outdoors because foxes,
 like raccoons and other omnivores, will compete with pets
 for food.

For the most part, the Mahoneys' Worthington neighbors say
 they enjoy having the foxes around, even though some think
 a fox killed a declawed house cat whose remains were found
 near a fox den.

"We've seen the foxes picking up squirrels, chipmunks, rabbits," 
said Andreas Von Recum, retired director of research at Ohio
 State University's College of Veterinary Medicine, "They are in
 abundance here — more than we would like — so foxes will
 do some good."

Neighbor Donald Humphrey, a former park planner with the
 National Park Service, welcomes the foxes for similar reasons.
"Since we've seen the foxes, the cottontails that used to play
 havoc with my beets and chard and other greens are gone," 
said Humphrey, who has occasionally thrown out some scraps
 for the foxes.

"These are innocent little creatures trying to run around and
 feed their families," he added.
Mike Teets, whose family has seen foxes in its Dublin yard
 for years, has also found them harmless — and even playful.
One evening this spring, he said, a fox ran alongside Teets'
 10-year-old daughter as she sprinted bases in the backyard.
"They have never bothered us in any way."

The Mahoneys realized that foxes were nesting under their 
deck late one night when motion-sensor lights suddenly
 brightened the backyard.

"It looked like the Super Bowl out here," Mr. Mahoney said.
 "They were just prancing around. We counted eight kits and
 two adults."

The family has enjoyed watching the animals grow but is
 ready for them to move on. The yard — dotted with squirrel
, chipmunk and mouse carcasses — provides grisly evidence
 of the foxes' nightly hunts.

"Hopefully, they're going to do the natural thing and be on
 their way into the wildlife in the next couple of weeks," Mr
. Mahoney said.

Although the number of fox sightings in Ohio is way down
 from that of two decades ago, sightings have risen slightly
 during the past four years, making Prange believe that the
 animals are adjusting to the coyote threat.

"I have some hopes they're adapting and turning it around."

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