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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 23, 2014

The "Garden State", New Jersey, had grown it's Black Bear population to some 3400 Bruins in 2009..........60 years ago, there were a scant 100 Bears in the state.............Outstanding as this all is, the last 4 years of hunting has knocked the Bear population down by roughly 30% to 2500..................State biologists will tell you that from an ecological services and carrying capacity based on available food and habitat, New Jersey could harbor well over 3400 Black Bears.............The ever ready argument of State Game Commissions including NJ is that from a "human social carrying capacity", 2500 Bears are more than enough for the state's forest and fields.............Hogwash I say,,,,,,,,,,,,,,Instead of killing the bears to satisfy the hunting community, why not be teaching NJ residents how to properly dispose of garbage so that the Bears do not become a nuisance.............As we have heard from many experts on this blog, killing Carnivores to keep their numbers down can lead to increased conflict with us due to creating younger and more inexperienced bear populations---These "adolescents" will take greater chances around human habitation, creating chaos with residents...............Wake up the "State-of my growing-up-years................Do the right thing and finance wildlife management through vehicle license sales and proceeds from state sales taxes, not through hunter killing license tags

Click the following to access the sent link:
Annual den-to-den census of NJ's
 black bears has its dangers [video]*





Black bear No. 8141 doesn’t know it yet, but she’s
 about to get shot in her fat rump. She is sleeping
now, deep in her cave, guarding two cubs, maybe
three. She will awaken to the whoosh of an air gun
 and the sting of a tranquilizer dart.
What she decides to do next could mess up Kelcey
Burguess’s whole day.

“Things could get real exciting here in a minute,” says Burguess, standing just uphill from the den. “If she runs, she might run 
you over. It’s wise to step out of the way.”
Burguess is a biologist with the New Jersey Division
 of Fish and Wildlife. For three months every winter, 
this is his primary job. Working with a team of 
biologists and technicians, he crawls into dens with
 sleeping black bears. He shoots them with 
tranquilizers. The bears leave their dens, either 
sleeping and pulled out slowly by the humans;
 or awake, quickly and of their own accord. Once
 outside, the bears are measured, weighed, and 
tested for disease.
Most important, the bears are counted.

This makes Burguess’s work controversial,
 since the census is intertwined with New Jersey’s
 annual bear hunt. By counting a portion of the
 state’s bears, biologists determine how many 
of their cubs survived the summer, and estimate
 how fast the population is growing. Come December
 and the state’s six-day bear season, this combination
 of science and guesswork helps the Fish and 
Wildlife division decide how many bears may 
be shot by hunters.

To some people, that makes Burguess a hero
.“Jumping into dens full of black bears? It’s
 amazing the work Kelcey Burguess does,” 
says John Rogalo, chairman of the New Jersey 
State Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs.

To others, he is anything but.“Kelcey has a
 passion for killing,” says Angi Metler, executive
 director of the Animal Protection League of New 
Jersey. “They do the census only to make sure
 there are enough bears to kill. It is inhumane.”

No matter which side is right, both sides agree
 the problem is not the bears. It’s the humans.
 There were 3,438 black bears living in the hills
of northwest New Jersey in 2009, according to 
an estimate by the Department of Environmental 
Protection. Four hunting seasons later the 
population is down to about 2,500, Burguess says.
Even with 8.8 million people, New Jersey still has
plenty of food and habitat for bears, which is why 
the species has been spotted in every county in 
the state.

“Biologically, we could handle a lot more bears,
” Burguess says.
But biology isn’t the only factor, of course. Many 
residents and municipalities in bear country
 oppose measures that would require them to 
place household garbage in bear-resistant cans.
 Even after the housing meltdown and subsequent
 recession, New Jersey continues to build suburban 
developments deep inside some of the state’s best 
bear habitats. This combination of proximity and 
easy access to human food increases the likelihood
 that bears and humans will meet.

A resident in Roxbury returned home with her 
daughters last September to find a momma
 bear and her cubs playing on her backyard
 swing set. Photos of the cute romping bears 
created an Internet sensation.

Eventually, however, one such interaction
 will turn tragic. While state agencies and 
animal-rights activists disagree over whether
 hunting alleviates or exacerbates the problem,
everyone agrees the danger is real.
“Culturally, the residents of New Jersey aren’t
 going to tolerate an overabundance of black bears,
” Burguess says. “If they have black bears chasing 
their children to the school bus and eating their 
pets, they’ll just start shooting them to extinction.”

Burguess hopes to keep that from happening. 
He wants the bear population to stay safe and
 healthy, which is why he jumps into bear dens
 in the middle of winter.

In the field, he and his team apply antibiotics 
to bears with infected wounds. When they find 
bears with damaged limbs or even broken hips,
 they have carried the animals out of the
 wilderness and found veterinarians to provide
 reduced-cost care.

“A lot of people think we at Fish and Wildlife
 think, ‘Aw, just kill it,’Ÿ” he says. “Well we 
actually do care about the animals. We’ve 
gone to great lengths to try and help them out.”

Bears in N.J.
Black bears are native to New Jersey and were 
common through the 1800s. After extensive hunting,
 their population by the mid-1950s fell to fewer than 
100. The state Fish and Game Council decided in 
1953 to classify black bears as a game animal, 
which served to limit bear hunting. Due partly to this
 decision and also to land preservation efforts, as well
 as the shift of former agricultural lands into mature
 forests, the population rebounded. The counts cover
 the area north of Route 80 and west of Route 287, 
and are estimates based on field counts.
2001: 1,777
2003: 1,600-3,200
2005: 2,397
2009: 3,438
2011: 2,800-3,000
2014: 2,500*
*Unofficial estimate
Source: state Fish and Game Council

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