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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 19, 2013

With the unfortunate incident of the three Colorado Coyotes attacking a man earlier this week, good to see a more fair and balanced discussion about our Songdog population in Virginia........................State wildlife biologist Kevin Rose(an enlightened state biologist) emphasizes that if Coyotes become habituated to humans by associating us with food handouts(garbage left in the open, small cats and dogs running unleashed, bird feeders, etc), the Coyotes are likely to lose their fear of us and become much more bold and aggressive when in our presence(what many biologists believe caused the Colorado incident).....................He states: “Coyotes defend their territories and especially their den areas from all other animals"......... “Therefore, if they set up a den, they would attack animals larger than they see as prey in order to defend their family and territory"....................“They are good at adapting to the environment we create"......................"Coyotes are omnivores"......... "They east small mammals like mice and groundhogs, and native fruits like blackberries and blueberries"......... "But we may be seeing more of them because – like black bears – they also enjoy trash, pet food, bird seed and meat in compost piles"..................“They are not vicious evil animals, but will make an easy meal of pets if given the chance"..............................“Just like with bears, humans are going to have to learn to live with our wildlife, not expect that to live separate from it"

Encroaching coyotes
    Coyotes in Dumfries

Yes, Northern Virginia, we have coyotes. Get used to it, they’re here to stay.
“Coyotes are well established here and the population is growing,” state
 wildlife biologist Kevin Rose said. “They are good at adapting to the 
environment we create.”

Though typically elusive, over the past year or so coyotes have become
 an almost regular sight, and sound, in Northern Virginia, particularly in
 southeastern Prince William County.
Several people have snapped photos of them strolling across crowded
 residential neighborhoods, or hanging out in backyards.
There have also been rumors of missing cats and small dogs, thought
 to have become meals for the feared canines.
“Last week they took two little dogs in my neighborhood in Triangle,
 near Quantico. We saw a huge one carrying a little animal about 20
 feet away from usin the middle of the street!” Carla Aikens said on’s Facebook page.
State and local officials say we are seeing many more of them
, and they have become comfortable enough – or brazen enough –
 to claim our territory as theirs.
Despite some rumors to the contrary, coyotes weren’t introduced
 to the east to control deer populations. They slowly migrated here,
 and were first observed in western Virginia in the 1950s.
 “Coyotes were not moved here by the [Marine Corps] or anyone else,”
 Rose said.
As the nation’s populations of other top predators, like wolves and
 mountain lions, declined, the cunning coyote moved in to fill the void.
“Wolves tend to limit coyote abundance because they see another
 large ‘dog’ as a threat,” Rose said.
Coyotes in Northern Virginia followed a specific route to get here 
from the north, and they had some encounters with wolves along
 the way, according to a 2011 study in the Journal of Mammalogy.
Researchers with the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute
 studied the scat (or feces) of the area’s coyotes and found that
 they bred with the wolves of the Great Lakes.
Thanks to their wolf DNA, Northern Virginia’s coyotes are larger
 than their western counterparts, said Paul Petersen, a wildlife 
biologist and chief of resource management at Prince William 
Forest Park.
And while wolf populations in the country continue to decline
, the coyote population is booming.
Coyotes are omnivores. They east small mammals like mice 
and groundhogs, and native fruits like blackberries and
 blueberries. But we may be seeing more of them because 
– like black bears – they also enjoy trash, pet food, bird seed
and meat in compost piles.
“Opportunities for those kinds of meals are common around
 human populations,” Rose said.
While it doesn’t happen often, coyotes are opportunists and 
will eat cats and small dogs.
“They are not vicious evil animals, but will make an easy meal
 of pets if given the chance,” Rose said.
Prince William police advise people who live in neighborhoods
 where coyotes have been spotted to bring their pets inside at night.
Even more rare are coyote attacks on people, though the animals
 are very territorial and will defend their dens.
“Coyotes defend their territories and especially their den areas
 from all other animals,” Rose said. “Therefore, if they set up a
 den, they would attack animals larger than they see as prey in 
order to defend their family and territory.  This accounts for most 
attacks on larger dogs and adults.”
The state has deemed coyotes a “nuisance animal,” and there
 are no bag limits or hunting seasons for the canines.
Coyotes can be “killed at will,” but not in areas where shooting
 is prohibited, and not on Sundays, Rose said.
“Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries regulations, 
such as the designation of coyotes as a nuisance animal, do not
 supersede local ordinances regulating discharge of firearms,”
 Rose said.
Shooting is prohibited in most of Prince William County, said
 police spokesman Jonathan Perok.
Some counties in the state will pay a bounty for dead coyotes
. But no jurisdictions in Northern Virginia do not, and there is
 no statewide bounty.
Rose says hunting coyotes out of existence isn’t going to work
 anyway. “Living in an area that has coyotes is a lot like living 
in areas with bears. Do not leave attractants out that encourage
 the animal to come onto your property.  Without the promise of
 food, they generally don’t have an interest in hanging around,”
 he said.
And while you might successfully shoo them from your backyard, 
expect it to be an ongoing battle.
“Just like with bears, humans are going to have to learn to live
 with our wildlife, not expect that to live separate from it,” Rose said.

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