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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, September 9, 2013

A Romanian proverb says, “Where wolves roam, forests grow'........... Having wolves on our landscapes and ecologically active is vital to maintaining the natural balance for all wildlife...................There is ample science and thinking that supports this management strategy..............There are innovative new ways to reduce wolf conflicts with livestock, including nonlethal methods (only 2 percent of the Minnesota farms in wolf country have experienced wolf problems with livestock)..............So how does Minnesota justify cutting it's Wolf population in half from 3000 to 1500 in just one Wolf hunting season????????????????

Minnesota's wolves needed for ecological balance

  • Article by: MAUREEN HACKETT;
A recreational hunt doesn’t follow the DNR’s
stated management plans.
 “Despite wins, Minnesota’s endangered species list
 up by 180” (Aug. 20, 2013) quotes the Department of
 Natural Resources’
 (DNR) endangered species coordinator as stating, 
“We’ve got to learn
 how to manage species on a larger scale.”
The state’s list of species that have gone extinct and
of those that are endangered and threatening to go
extinct has grown tremendously.
One of the first steps in the large-scale management
 referred to by the DNR is to keep in place the vital
assets already provided by nature. This is particularly
 relevant to the Minnesota wolf population.
A Romanian proverb says, “Where wolves roam,
 forests grow.” Having wolves on our landscapes
 and ecologically active is vital to maintaining the
 natural balance for all wildlife.

There is ample science and thinking that supports
 this management strategy, and innovative new ways
 to reduce wolf conflicts with livestock, including
 nonlethal methods (only 2 percent of the Minnesota 
farms in wolf country have experienced wolf problems
 with livestock)As far back as the 1920s and ’30s,
 University of Wisconsin scientist, ecologist, forester 
and environmentalist Aldo Leopold established visionary
 wildlife management theories that rightfully viewed 
wildlife issues within the greater ecological system 
of nature.In 1949, he proposed that a natural predator 
such as the wolf has a major residual impact on plants;
 river and stream bank erosion; fish and fowl; water
 quality; and on other animals. In other words, the 
wolf is a keystone species.

Leopold’s trophic cascade concept articulated
 emphatically that killing a predator wolf carries
serious implications for the rest of the ecosystem.
 Later, that concept was endorsed by former Secretary
 of the Interior Bruce Babbitt.
The natural benefits of wolves to our complex landscapes
is still not fully understood. What is known is that:
• The presence of wolves helps plants and tree growth by
affecting the browsing behavior of deer, especially along
stream and river banks.
• Wolves keep habitat healthy for birds and fish, many of
 which are now threatened with extinction.
• Groundbreaking work by Oregon State University
professors William Ripple and Robert Beschta in
Yellowstone National Park has shown Leopold’s
principles to be true; the reintroduction of the wolf
improved the Yellowstone River wildlife and ecosystems.
• Their work has relevance in Minnesota. Although
 the ecosystems are dissimilar, the wolf still plays
a major role in both places and is Minnesota’s ally to
slow species extinction.
It is unfortunate that the DNR does not treat the wolf
as a valuable asset for the large-scale needs of so
 many other species. The DNR proposed to remove
the wolf as a species of special concern the same
year the wolf was removed from the federal endangered
species list.
Yet no baseline population survey was done before the
wolf was proposed to come off the state’s list or before
 the hunt. And it’s unclear: Who exactly supports the hunt?
 Even before the first wolf hunting and trapping season in
 2012, the DNR’s own online survey indicated that a hunt
 was opposed by 79 percent of respondents.
If we look at the DNR’s published numbers, our wolf
population is already 25 percent less than it was at
 last count in 2008. It had been stable without a hunt
 from 1998 through 2008.
Today, we have the lowest number of wolves reported
 since 1988. The wolf’s removal from the list of species
 of special concern has made it solely a game species
 and not in the category of a nongame wildlife species
to be protected.
With so many other species whose existence depends
 on the presence of the wolf, it behooves the DNR to
 follow its own Wolf Management Plan. That plan’s
stated goals are to ensure the long-term survival of the
 wolf in Minnesota and to resolve conflicts between
wolves and humans.
Our state’s wildlife management resources need to
be directed toward these goals. A wolf hunt — purely
for recreation — does not accomplishment these objectives.
Even without a hunt, wolves are killed that are perceived
 to be a threat. Nor is there a plan to support nonlethal
prevention methods that work for reducing wolf-livestock
 conflicts. The rare and first Minnesota wolf-human attack
aside, the wolves that will be killed in another hunting
 season are random and not necessarily causing problems.
Last year, of the 413 wolves killed, 240 were juveniles.
 These young wolves had survived the high mortality
 pup stage and were growing to the reproductive age
How does another wolf hunt this year ensure the future
of Minnesota’s wolves and the wildlife whose existence
 depends on the vital role of the wolf on our landscapes?
 Maureen Hackett is the founder of 
Howling For Wolves, a nonprofit organization 
educating the public and policymakers about
 the Minnesota 

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