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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, October 26, 2013

A new study by Norwegian University of Life Sciences is concerning as it relates to the long term impacts of humans hunting and killing large trophic Carnivores like Wolves, Pumas and Bears.........These animals’ natural ecological function as predators is to instill “the landscape of fear” in their prey(thank you John Laundre for that theory!)............................ But they become victims of that landscape instead, spending more time and energy being vigilant, and less out hunting............... That means they may not be as effective at controlling numbers of prey species like moose or elk............... And that can lead in turn to overgrazing and a cascade of other effects on the habitat................. Over the long-term, persistent hunting may also make the predators themselves less big and bad.................... I am with Outdoor writer and ecologist George Wuerthner and PREDATOR DEFENSE Chief Brooks Fahy who are calling for an end or limit to trophy hunting................And State Game Commissions need to halt Carnivore hunts based on traits like the lion’s mane or the Kodiak bear’s size.............These traits---- social dominance, size, and raw ferocity—are the very things that enable these animals to function as effective "ecological services" predators in the first place

The Surprising Fallout 

From Trophy Hunting 

for Wolves and Bears

A top predator that must constantly look over its
 shoulder for fear of human hunters, may not be a
top predator any more.

Humans have probably been hunting big, scary
 predators for as long as we have been human,
 and for the obvious reasons: They are big. They
 are scary. And they are competition. The fear
goes deep in our culture— the Big Bad Wolf was
 appearing in folk tales in the early middle ages.
 When I spent a little time on foot in lion habitat a
 few years ago, the fear felt even more deeply 
rooted, down somewhere in my gut. Hunting helps
 restore our precious illusion of control. Even today,
 and even among people who may privately practice, 
trophy hunting of top predators can seem like a useful
 tool. The theory is that trophy fees—$10,000 for a lion
, say—help pay to protect habitat and keep out poachers. 
These fees can also provide economic benefits to local

Large Lynx killed for sport

 In theory, that
tolerance among
 people who still 
live with large, dangerous animals outside
 their garden gates.
Hunting some species may thus serve as the
 means to increase
their numbers— killing predators in order to
 save them.As 
hunters tend to know too well, even 
white-tailed deer or Canada
 geese know what to do and where to avoid
 when hunting season
 starts. It’s the same for predators, according
 to the new study: 
Brown bears tend to shift their daily foraging
 and resting routines
 when human hunters arrive. So do lions.
 Wolves may actually
 relocate their breeding sites. 

 These animals’ natural ecological function
 as predators is to
 instill “the landscape of fear” in their prey. 
But they become 
victims of that landscape instead, spending 
more time and 
energy being vigilant, and less out hunting.
 That means they 
may not be as effective at controlling numbers 
of prey species 
like moose or elk.  And that can lead in turn
 to overgrazing 
and a cascade of other effects on the habitat.
 Over the long-term,
 persistent hunting may also make the 
predators themselves
 less big and bad. The long history of hunting
 and persecution
 in Europe may be one reason, the study 
suggests, that European
 brown bears are not nearly as fierce as
 grizzlies in North America,
 though they are the same species, Ursus arctos

“Long-term, human-caused selection may
 explain the reduced
 aggression of brown bears towards people, 
their nocturnal
 behavior, and their higher investment in 

 .Hunters’ preference for large male trophies
 can have 
dramatic and destructive social effects, too.
 When a big 
brown bear is shot, for instance, infanticide 
increases over 
the next two years as other males move in
 to court the female.
 The same thing happens with lions.

Wolf shot from airplane

Craig Packer
 of the University
 of Minnesota’s
 Lion Research 
Center told me several years ago, when I 
interviewed him about his 
research in Tanzania. A young male may
 take the place of a hunting

 victim long enough to begin a new litter, 
said Packer, who is not
 connected to the study. That new father then 
needs to stick around 
to protect those cubs for another two years. 
But a lot of younger males 
lack the moxie to hold off challengers. Social
 upheaval often ensues, 
with one male after another fathering cubs,
 but faltering as their
 protector, and none of the litters ever
 reaching maturity. 

The new paper does not advocate a hunting 
ban. Controlled, licensed
 hunting of predators may still be a better
 alternative than leaving a 
habitat open to poachers,  Instead, the paper
 urges conservationists 
to start thinking beyond mere predator numbers,
 to larger ecological

 The authors also make recommendations for
 managing large
 predators more thoughtfully. Among them: 
Establish core areas
 or large-carnivore reserves where predators 
can be predators,
 without fear of hunting. In places where hunting 
is allowed, limit 
it by space and season to minimize the
 ecological effects. And 
end or limit trophy hunting based on traits
 like the lion’s mane or
 the Kodiak bear’s size.These traits—
status symbols, social 
dominance, size, and a little raw ferocity—
are the very things
 that enable these animals to function as
 big, scary predators
 in the first place. 

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