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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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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

In the Greater Yellowstone, the on-going TETON COUGAR PROJECT continues to reveal the artful dance that is constantly playing out among Pumas and Wolves............The most current evaluations coming out of this Study are not terribly different from those previously cataloged in the highly informative 2010 tomb entitled COUGAR ECOLOGY AND CONSERVATION(EDITED BY DR. MAURICE HORNOCKER AND SHARON NEGRI).........One of the Deans of Puma research in North America, Hornocker states: "Although Pumas and Wolves are similar in size, the social nature of Wolves enhances their competitive ability, and in direct interaction with Cougars, they tend to dominate"...............As a result, core territories of Pumas tend to be as far away from core territories of Wolves as possible......... Wolves directly usurped between 6.3% and 14 % of Cougar kills in Yellowstone and Banfff National Parks respectively"...........Therefore, "Cougars typically kill their prey in areas with ample ground or tree cover, often away from more open forest and meadow habitat where Wolves chase down their prey"..............""During Summer, Cougars often follow their prey to higher elevations, whereas wolves tend to restrict their movements to denning and rendezvous areas in valley bottoms"................

Study finds cougars avoid wolf territory

Cats also live nearer to roads than thought.

By Mike Koshmrl | 0 comments
Jackson Hole's mountain lions spend a disproportionate amount of time in parts of their territory that are far from wolves, new research by the Teton Cougar Project shows.
The Kelly research group's paper "Home range characteristics of a subordinate predator: selection for refugia or hunt opportunity?" was published in the Journal of Zoology in late May.

Among other findings the research shows that lions tend to distance themselves from wolves, a competing species that sometimes kills cougars. "If you look at what's called the core home range, it tends to be farther from wolves than the rest of their home range," said Patrick Lendrum, a Cougar Project biologist and the lead author of the study.

Individual mountain lions frequent the core areas within their home ranges the most, Lendrum said.
Because wolves select top-tier territories with the most available prey, subordinate mountain lions are being pushed away from the most productive parts of the landscape, Cougar Project team leader Mark Elbroch said. "There is a reduction in habitat in the sense that they are prioritizing habitat differently," Elbroch said.

Female cats, he said, particularly select for home ranges that are thick with prey and that are distanced from wolves. That's also the case with males, which occupied home ranges 1.9 to 3.3 times larger than the females, according to the study. "All cougar home ranges were farther from the centroid of known wolf pack territories than expected when compared with the study area," the paper said.

"Spatial displacement between wolves and cougars has been noted in several other studies," it said. "This, no doubt, limits the availability of quality habitat in the Southern Yellowstone Ecosystem, which has implications for juvenile cougar survival, juvenile dispersal success and overall cougar population dynamics."

The Journal of Zoology study, which used 11 years of GPS and very-high-frequency data from 28 collared animals, also came to several other conclusions. Lion home ranges did not definitely increase or decrease in size based on the availability of prey or the percentage of the habitat that was forested.

There was "mixed support" for the hypothesis that mountain lions would select home ranges that were more rugged, steep and treed — all sources of refuge — than expected compared with the study landscape as a whole.

Both female and male cats also tended to occupy home ranges nearer to roads than researchers had expected, the paper said.

The recently completed home range study relied mostly on larger, landscape-level data, Elbroch said.

The Cougar Project plans to piggyback on the Journal of Zoology paper with a new study that will use precision real-time data from GPS-collared wolves and lions to look at "fine-scale interactions" between the two predators."
"With this new opportunity, in three years we may actually disprove everything we think we're learning now," Elbroch said. "It'll be great.

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