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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, January 11, 2014

As reported on previously, the Illinois Dept of Natural Resources is to be commended for recommending that Pumas, Wolves and Black Bears be Protected Species in the state.........While this referendum did not get "thumbs up from the Illinois Legislature, the DNR continues to educate its citizens on the role of Apex Carnivores through a useful website, “Living with Wildlife in Illinois”: .............Surveys show that Illinois citizens support carnivore protection but don’t want them close to their home.............As the great 20th Century Naturalist Aldo Leopold stated------ “The hope of the future lies not in curbing the influence of human occupancy – it is already too late for that – but in creating a better understanding of the extent of that influence and a new ethic for its governance"

Mountain lions, wolves and black bears in Illinois?

Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014 12:01 am

Mountain lions, wolves and black bears in Illinois?

The recent
 of a mountain
 lion in Whiteside
 County has generated much public discussion about
 future of this
 species in Illinois. The Illinois Department of Natural
 Resources welcomes
 that discussion, and believes it’s equally important to
 talk about the
possible return of other apex predators such as the
 gray wolf and the
American black bear.

While we believe this and other recent confirmed
mountain lion sightings
 are isolated occurrences for now, we have been
 actively preparing for
 the time when mountain lions, wolves and black
 bears may once again
 establish populations in the state. We have funded
 scientific research
where suitable habitat models have been developed
 for these species,
and have also researched attitudes and opinions of
 Illinoisans regarding
these large carnivores.

In the spring of 2011, we supported a bill in the
 General Assembly
 (HB 1437) that sought to add the gray wolf,
American black bear
 and mountain lion to the list of protected species
 under the Illinois
Wildlife Code. While that effort was not successful,
the IDNR remains
 interested in finding ways to achieve protections
 for these animals
 by working cooperatively with a wide range of

We believe
 there is room
on our Illinois
 landscape for
 apex predators,
but these species
 also will require
management as
 they re-establish
 and grow in numbers to deal with human-wildlife
interactions, nuisance
animals, and to keep a balance in predator-prey
 numbers within suitable
 habitat areas. Placing the species on the protected
 list is a necessary step.

The agency is also trying to educate and inform
 residents on wildlife-human
 interactions and their role in wildlife management,
 and has worked with the
 University of Illinois Extension to develop a useful
 website, “Living with
Wildlife in Illinois”:

While our attitude surveys revealed that a large
 number of people in
 Illinois support carnivore protection, they also
show that a majority
 of people don’t want them close to their home.
 Like so many of the
 resources that we manage, we recognize that
 there are differing
views on how mountain lions, and other large
predators, should be
 managed within the state.

Our current work is focused on understanding
 people’s views on
 these carnivores and other wildlife, including
urban and rural
residents and all other cross-sections of citizens
in the state,
 and then using that information to manage this
resource in a
way that best meets the needs and expectations
of our residents.
 In the near future we will be sharing the results
 of public surveys
 on these issues on the “Living with Wildlife”

Aldo Leopold, the father of modern conservation,
 wrote his 1933
 book Game Management at the time when much
 of North America’s
 big game animals, like wolves and deer, were
 nearly extinct, and the
 wildlife management profession was beginning
to be institutionalized.
Leopold stated, “The hope of the future lies not
 in curbing the
influence of human occupancy – it is already too
 late for that –
but in creating a better understanding of the
extent of that influence
 and a new ethic for its governance.”

In the 80 years since, we have seen great
 strides in conservation
and species recovery, including deer, wild
turkeys, coyotes, beaver,
 raccoons, river otters and large carnivores.
 Countless sportsmen,
 conservationists, land owners,
environmentalists and natural
resource professionals have all played
a significant part in these
 accomplishments. Now we must focus
on the next step of creating
 a better understanding and new ethics
to support the future
 management and protection of large
 carnivores in Illinois.

Marc Miller is director of the Illinois 
Department of 
Natural Resources.

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