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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, October 3, 2013

Barry Noonana dnd Kevin Crooks are Wildlife Ecology Professors at Colorado State................They opine passionately and accurately in an op ed piece in the Coloradoan newspaper about the mistaken notion of possibly delisting Wolves across the USA and just allowing them to exist where they currently have a toehold(Northern Rockies and Great Lakes States)..................As they state---"Having wolves in other parts of the country is important but does nothing to recover and sustain food webs and biological diversity in Colorado".............They also quote Naturalist Aldo Leopold stating--- "Relegating grizzly bears to Alaska was like relegating happiness to heaven"............ "The problem is one may never get there"...............The same might be said of restricting the gray wolf to the Northern Rockies and Great Lakes, about 15 percent of their historic range in the continental U.S.

Soapbox: Wolves benefit wildlife ecology in Colorado

Aldo Leopold, a founding father

 of wildlife conservation
 in North 
America, wrote that
 grizzly bears to Alaska
 was like 
relegating happiness to
The problem is one may
never get there.
The same might be said
 of restricting
 the gray wolf to the
Northern Rockies
 and Great Lakes, about
15 percent of
 their historic range in the
 U.S. Our desire to have
wolves in
 Colorado goes beyond
 the thrill of 
experiencing such a
regal animal in
 the wild. Rather, it is
 based on the 
role of wolves in
Rocky Mountain
 ecosystems and their
to a diverse wildlife
community. Having
 wolves in other parts
 of the country is
 important but does
 nothing to recover
 and sustain food webs
 and biological
 diversity in Colorado.
The decline of top
 predators — species
 that hunt, kill and
 consume other animals
 — can initiate cascading
 effects that ripple
 throughout the food
web. If wolves were
 re-established in
Colorado, they would 
consume deer and elk,
 and the abundance
 of these species may
 decline in some areas
. Not surprisingly, many
hunters oppose the
 reintroduction of wolves
 for this reason. 
However, overabundant
deer and elk 
populations are susceptible
 to disease 
outbreaks and have
significant negative 
impacts on the environment.
 High levels 
of browsing on streamside
plants, for 
example, can adversely
impact many 
wildlife species, including
 birds, mammals 
and fish. Deer and elk
populations can be
 controlled by hunting,
but the size, age
 and health of animals
consumed by wolves
 may show little
resemblance to those
harvested by hunters.
Since the gray wolf was
 reintroduced to
 Yellowstone, it has helped
 restore the
 natural balance of the
ecological community.
 Reduced browsing by
 elk has contributed
 to increased growth of
aspen, willow and 
cottonwoods, resulting
 in more food and
 habitat for beavers,
songbirds and fish.
It would be naïve to
ignore some people's
 intolerance of wolves.
 This intolerance has
 deep historical roots but,
 in North America
, is not based on credible
 risks to human
 welfare. The likelihood
of direct human-wolf 
conflict is negligible.
Wolves are a threat to
 domestic livestock, but
 most western states
 have programs that
compensate for the loss
 of livestock to wolf

Since the gray wolf
was reintroduced to
 Yellowstone, it has
 helped restore the 
natural balance of the
ecological community.
 Reduced browsing by
 elk has contributed
to increased growth of
 aspen, willow and
 cottonwoods, resulting
 in more food and
 habitat for beavers,
songbirds and fish.
Unfortunately, a recent proposal from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service could effectively end gray wolf recovery efforts nationwide.
 Colorado contains large areas of public lands with sufficient prey to
support healthy wolf populations. Direct reintroduction of wolves, or
allowing them to naturally colonize these areas, would go a long way
 toward returning the Colorado landscape to a more natural state with
the potential to benefit all of Colorado’s wildlife. Moreover, it is likely
 to boost tourism; surveys in Yellowstone National Park have shown
 that nearly half of park visitors listed wolves as the animal they would
most like to see on their trip and this has translated into tens of millions
of dollars annually to the local economy.

The Fish and Wildlife Service position restricts small gray wolf
populations to Idaho, Montana and Wyoming, meaning that wolves
are not welcome in Colorado despite their ecological importance and
support by the majority of Colorado residents. If you share our wish to
 experience wolves while exploring the Colorado landscape, please
contact the Fish & Wildlife Service and urge them to continue to
provide federal protections for the gray wolf.

Barry R. Noon (pictured) and Kevin
 R. Crooks are professors of wildlife
 ecology at Colorado State University

1 comment:

Oliver Starr said...

One of the best ways you can help the wolf recover is to submit your comment to US FWS asking them to maintain protected status for the gray wolf.

The link is here:!docketDetail;D=FWS-HQ-ES-2013-0073

Good comments do not need to rehash all the science - they know this - but should state why the recovery of the wolf matters to you personally, and emphasize that you know and appreciate the crucial role keystone predators play.

If you have or plan to travel to see wolves it is good that you say so since that can help lawmakers see that its not just good policy, but also, good business to keep wolves protected.