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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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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Whereas urban states like New Jersey and Connecticut have seen their Black Bear population grow rapidly over the past decade, Louisiana with all of it's swampy backcountry has seen a slower regeneration of what are often referred to as "Teddy Bears"(President Teddy Roosevelt refused to shoot one back in 1902).....................First listed as a threatened species in Louisiana back in 1992, there are two subpopulations of these bears (the smallest in physical size of all American Black Bears), one in the upper Atchafalaya region and one along the coast..........Wildlife Professionals cite the need for connective habitat between the two groups if federal protections are to be lifted............The Bears need to comingle, spread their genes so as to have a fighting chance to perpetuate into the future

Black bear population growing

 slowly in La.
Purchase Image
The Louisiana Black Bear

population has
 gradually grown
 to 500, but whether
 the subspecies that
 inspired teddy bears
can survive without
 federal protection
remains in question.
"The bear is on the
 way to recovery.
We probably have
 a long ways to go,"
 said Harold Schoeffler
 of Lafayette, whose
 lawsuits against the
 U.S. Fish and Wildlife
 Service got the bears
 listed as threatened in
1992 and pushed the
 government into designating
 critical habitat
 for the species in 2005.
He hadn't seen the two new
 studies being
 presented at public meetings
 Monday in
 Pointe Coupee Parish and
Tuesday in
 Morgan City, but said he'll
Tuesday's meeting.
Graduate students Jesse
Troxler and
Kaitlin O'Connell at the
University of
Tennessee estimated the
 numbers in two
 parts of the Atchafalaya
 Basin through
 DNA analysis of hair
 snagged in barbed
 wire. Their adviser,
Joe Clark, said
Monday they counted
 bears in the
coastal area and the
 upper Atchafalaya.
Altogether there are
 about 200 in both
 groups, with the
coastal group roughly
 double the size of
 the northern group,
 he said.
"A lot of this stuff is
 just preliminary,"
 Clark said in a
telephone interview
Monday. "We're going
 to do an overall
analysis to evaluate what
 the viability of
the entire bear population
 in the state is.
That won't be finished
 until later this year."
An earlier study
estimated the largest
population, in and
around the Tensas
 River National
 Wildlife Refuge in
northeastern Louisiana,
at about 300
as of 2008. The statewide
 total was
estimated at fewer than
 300 when the
 bears were listed as
Another 49 female
bears and their 100
 or so cubs were
moved from Tensas
 to a wildlife management
 area about
50 miles north of Pointe
Coupee Parish
 in the mid-2000s. That
 group hasn't
 been counted, Clark said.
Louisiana black bears
are among 16
subspecies of American
 black bears,
 the smallest bears found
 in the United
 States. The first teddy
bears were
created after President
Teddy Roosevelt
refused in 1902 to shoot
a bear that had
been tied to a tree to
provide a trophy
 for his hunt.
The Fish and Wildlife
Service has
 said that "delisting"
the bears will
require at least two
 groups — one
 in the Tensas area
 and the other
in the Atchafalaya
 River Basin —
 that can survive
without protection.
 In addition, protected,
"corridors" must be
created to let
 them move between
those groups.
O'Connell has found
 that bears
are moving "pretty
 well" between
 the upper Atchafalaya
 and the
Three Rivers Wildlife
Area, Clark said.
That's encouraging,
 said, noting that the
 bears also
 have trundled into
east Texas
and swum the
Mississippi River
 into west Mississippi.
 also found in Arkansas.
However, Clark said,
 very little movement
 so far that
 we can detect between
 Tensas and upper
 populations, or the
Atchafalaya and lower
Atchafalaya population."
Distance is the problem
 bears getting to and
 from the
Tensas group — it's
about 130
 miles from the upper
group and about 80
miles from
Three Rivers. Highways
 movement between
the two
Atchafalaya Basin groups.
Clark said the
 and state scientists
will also
 present information
 habitat requirements
 for bears'
living space and travel
 and a study about
how bears
 reacted when the
 basin was flooded
 by opening
 the Morganza Spillway
the record Mississipp
i River floods of 2011.
Apparently, only about
 8 percent
 of the bears left the
spillway during
the floods, Clark said.
 "We had some
 animals radio-collared,"
 he said.
"They sort of hung out
 in trees and
 on high banks, railroad
 berms —
that kind of thing —
 till the water
went down."

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