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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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Saturday, September 7, 2013

Rhode Island is seeing an explosion of Lyme Disease this year as the deer tick population is growing exponentially..............There are certainly more Eastern Coyotes roaming Rhode Island's woods and fields taking out rodents and deer fawns..............There are foxes(both red and gray) dining on rodents...................These two canids and human hunters are not enough to mediate the deer population that is a major host of the tick...............Eastern Wolves and Pumas once again should "be on deck swinging a bat" ready to enter the game to bring the 20+ per square mile deer herd down to 10 per square mile................Where is the common sense both from state and Federal Officials to begin this necessary two-prong rewilding program?

Deer tick population explodes across Rhode Island, URI study finds

Prof. Thomas Mather, director of URI's Center for Vector-Borne Disease, who researches ticks, in his lab with maps of Rhode Island's deer tick population

The population of sesame-seed-size deer ticks that transmit Lyme disease and other ailments has exploded this year, a researcher at the University of Rhode Island announced Thursday.
Thomas Mather, professor of entomology and director of the URI Center for Vector-Borne Disease, said that his researchers have found record numbers of the tiny, blood-sucking arachnids for the second straight year in various sampling spots around the state.

He said the ticks cause Lyme disease, babesiosis anaplasmosis and three newly recognized tick-borne diseases — a relapsing fever borrelia, a deer-tick virus and a type of bacteria called ehrlichia. Ticks wait ambush-style on tall grasses or other vegetation, and attach themselves to hosts that brush past.

Mather provided maps that show Rhode Island in 2010 colored mostly in placid greens and blues, indicating a lower population of the ticks. The 2013 map, however, jumps out with flaming red and orange swaths covering virtually all of the state.

"The number of ticks we're finding is shocking," he said in a news release. "There is no question that this level of ticks poses a significant threat to public health in Rhode Island. … There is nowhere in Rhode Island that doesn't likely have some, and many places have exceptional numbers."

He and his team visit 60 sites scattered around the state, then make another visit to each siteand average the results. The figures show the tick population on a bell curve, he said.
Mather described typical deer tick habitat as somewhat shaded, wooded or brush-covered, including lawn edges with leaf litter.

Deer ticks, whose scientific name is Ixodes scapularis, are also called blacklegged ticks,and bite rodents and birds as well as deer. They are related to spiders and scorpions. Dog ticks are larger and don't transmit Lyme disease.

All of the diseases deer ticks carry start with flu-like symptoms. Lyme, babesia and anaplasma are relatively common infections in Rhode Island deer ticks. Mather's team also has found the relapsing fever borrelia in Rhode Island.

Mather said that Rhode Island had a second straight year of record-breaking tick abundance because "we've experienced really permissive conditions for these ticks." His team's recent research correlated high deer tick numbers in those years when humidity is high throughout the month of June.

He predicted "a bumper crop of adult deer ticks this fall, and they won't go away after a frost."
Despite numerous public warnings about the risk of being bitten by ticks, Mather said that the "tick literacy level" in Rhode Island is still quite low, leaving a majority of residents ill-prepared to take appropriate measures to prevent tick bites.

"We are in a public health crisis with these ticks," he said in an interview, "and if we don't start taking more aggressive action, we can't expect nature to help."

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