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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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Sunday, February 9, 2014

Blog Reader Dave Messineo commented and augmented additional facts about Bison being part of the Eastern Seaboard fauna("St. Lawrence River Valley and up the Potomac River") at the time of European Invasion,,,,,,,Where there were Bison, there were Gray Wolves preying on them while the sympatric Eastern Wolf went about it's business dining on Whitetail Deer.,,,,,,,The Federal Government's U.S. Fish & Wildlife Dept, should not delist Gray Wolves across the USA and in fact should rewilld both them and Eastern Wolves across the Appalachian Chain along with Wood Bison(just as they are doing with Elk),,,,,See below for additional data on this topic

 The Portuguese on the St Lawrence River first traded with the Indians for buffalo hides from about 1500. The French on the St Lawrence then took over a monopoly in the trade for buffalo hides after about mid century and expanded the trade southward.

The Spaniard Pedro Menendez complained of the southern infringements by the French to King Phillip ll. He angrily reported, " In 1565 and for some years previous, buffalo-skins were brought down the Potomac River and there carried along shore in canoes to the French about the Gulf of St Lawrence. During two years 6000 skins were thus obtained. "

Saint Lawrence River
Fleuve Saint-Laurent
Saint Lawrence seaway.jpg
St. Lawrence River near Alexandria Bay
CountriesCanada, United States
State/ProvincesOntario, Quebec, New York
SourceLake Ontario
 - locationKingston, Ontario / Cape Vincent, New York
 - elevation74.7 m (245 ft)
 - coordinates44°06′N 76°24′W / 44.100°N 76.400°W / 44.100; -76.400
MouthGulf of St. Lawrence / Atlantic Ocean
 - elevation0 m (0 ft)
 - coordinates49°30′N 64°30′W / 49.500°N 64.500°W / 49.500; -64.500
Length1,197 km (744 mi)
Basin1,344,200 km2 (519,000 sq mi) [1]
Dischargefor below the Saguenay River
 - average16,800 m3/s (590,000 cu ft/s) [2]
Map of the St. Lawrence/Great Lakes

The Potomac River in the heart of the 
Bison's historical Eastern USA home.
The Saint Lawrence River was the exit 
point to the Atlantic Ocean for
the Portugeese and French to get their
 Bison Skins back to the Old World

Potomac River (Wappatomaka)
Usa great falls potomac md 2004 01 31 a.jpg
CountryUnited States
StatesWest Virginia, Maryland, Virginia, Washington, D.C.
 - leftMonocacy River, Anacostia River
 - rightShenandoah River, Occoquan River
CitiesHarpers Ferry, WV, Cumberland, MD, Washington, D.C., Arlington, VA, Alexandria, VA
SourceFairfax Stone
 - elevation3,060 ft (933 m)
 - coordinates39°11′43″N 79°29′28″W / 39.19528°N 79.49111°W / 39.19528; -79.49111
MouthChesapeake Bay
 - locationSt. Mary's County, Maryland / Northumberland County, Virginia, USA
 - elevation0 ft (0 m)
 - coordinates37°59′57″N 76°14′59″W / 37.99917°N 76.24972°W / 37.99917; -76.24972
Length405 mi (652 km)
The Potomac River watershed covers the District of Columbia and parts of four states




Mark LaRoux said...

Rick, for a few months now, I've been trying to get a specimen tested that may help determine whether grey wolves and red wolves interbred historically. There's a wolf listed as Canis rufus floridianus that was found in New Morgue cave near Huntsville, AL. back in the 70's. It appears to be several hundred years old (pre western coyote?). I am looking for someone to partner with to retest this specimen (never found results from first test from 2002) and as I'm not an academic (yet) I can't ask to have it tested myself. Any suggestions on who to approach with this project?

Anonymous said...

....Another good source of information about "buffalo" in the Eastern U. S. is John Lawson, in his book "New Voyage To Carolina". He was an early explorer who penetrated only about halfway inland from the coast in the present states of both North and South Carolina, and reports buffalo/bison. The erroneous view that the East was one great, unbroken forest is common, but inaccurate. The Indians purposefully burned vast stretches to create open areas for game they were dependent on--bison, elk, white-tail deer, cottontail rabbit, bobwhite quail, wild turkey--ALL are wildlife present in the East in great numbers that prefer "edge" environments. There are many native plants and flowers and grasses that only thrive in open, savannah-type environments that were also present in the East, as recorded by early botanists. Once large areas were cleared by Indian-set or lightning-started fires, large grazing animals like Bison and Elk tended to keep them that way. I might add, incidentally(in connection with an earlier post), that all this was also excellent potential RED FOX habitat, and I believe native red foxes were probably much more widespread throughout the East prior to the European introductions(people as well as foxes!) than is presently accepted. If you read about the NATIVE history of North America(I recommend a great comprehensive, enlightening book entitled "1491"), it becomes apparent that an enormous percentage of the native population died off after the earliest explorers like Desoto penetrated North America, due to diseases they-se explorers introduced, that the natives had no resistance too. Entire societies were depopulated and collapsed, and the forests had a couple of centuries to regrow before the European settlers began their expansion West. These Europeans got the impression that the East was one vast, unbroken forest, an impression that lives on to this day. Even then, there were still large clearings with buffalo and elk, etc. And gray wolves. And red foxes--or so I theorize......L.B.

Rick Meril said...

L.B...............right on about the Indian population crashing post initial EXPLORER contact..........and the meadows regrowing back into woodlands.............with still many open patches that Bison thrived on...........And these Bison were likely wood bison---certainly they were comfortable dealing and thriving in "edge" environments

Rick Meril said...

Mark.........Try contacting the following Eastern USA Coyote and Wolf Biologists

Jon Way-Massachusetts

Roland Kays-North Carolina or

Trent University Ontario Canada wolf and Coyote biologists are outstanding to contact as well Rutledge) Wheeldon)

Please mention my name when writing to them-----good luck with your research