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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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Monday, August 25, 2014

While Illinois State biologists at this point in time say that only about 14.7 percent of Illinois’ area is suitable for black bears, 6.6 percent for mountain lions and 14 percent for gray wolves, Gov. Pat Quinn and the state Legislature get a standing ovation from me and other like minded rewilding advocates for their decision to put these carnivores under the protection of the Illinois Wildlife Code effective come January 1, 2015..............While this code does call for the protection of the wolves, bears and pumas, it does give human residents the leeway of killing these creatures if there is perceived to be an imminent threat to their lives and property...........Let us hope that we can get the Illinois politicians to tighten up this policy so as to truly prevent "shoot, shovel and shut up" from taking place if and when viable populations of these carnivores come to roost in the state.

Bears, cougars, gray wolves to be
 protected in Illinois

NT Staff

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SPRINGFIELD — The gray wolf,
 American black bear and mountain
 lion (cougar) will come under the
 protection of the Illinois Wildlife 
Code on Jan. 1, Illinois Department 
of Natural Resources Director Marc
 Miller announced Monday. Senate
 Bill 3049, signed by Gov. Pat Quinn,
 gives the IDNR the authority to manage
 these species for the protection of both
 wildlife and public safety. 

All three species were present when settlers arrived in Illinois
, but were all but gone from the state by the mid-1800s. Du
e to improved legal protections and habitat restoration, these
 species are returning
 to some of their former range in the easternUnited States.

“Wolves, mountain lions and black bears have been absent from 
Illinois for more than 150 years. As the populations of these animals
 continue to grow, we expect to see occasional individuals 
dispersing from their current ranges into Illinois,” said IDNR
 Director Marc Miller. “I want to thank Governor Quinn and bill 
sponsors Sen. Linda Holmes and Rep. Kelly Cassidy for their

This law gives the Department the ability to create long-term
 management goals and to draft response protocols on managing
 human-wildlife conflicts with these three species.” SB 3049
 allows landowners to take a black bear or mountain lion if there
 is an
 imminent threat to lives and property.

The law also allows landowners to apply for a nuisance permit 
to remove an animal that is not an immediate threat. The gray wolf
 already receives legal protection in Illinois from both the U.S. and 
Illinois Endangered Species Acts. In these instances, endangered
 species law will be followed. Due to its federal protection, rules for
 taking a gray wolf south of Interstate 80 are more stringent. South
 of Interstate 80, gray wolves may not be taken unles they present 
an imminent threat to people. Any other taking requires state and 
federal permits.

The gray wolf already receives legal protection in Illinois from 
both the U.S.
 and Illinois Endangered Species Acts. In these instances,
 endangered species
           law will be followed. Due to its’ federal protection,

Common questions about SB3049:

           Is Illinois
 encouraging the return of large predators?
           The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is not actively 
working to restore gray wolves, American black bears or mountain 
lions to
 Illinois. However,
IDNR recognizes that occasional individual animals are likely to 
make their way here. A month-long visit to northern Illinois by a 
black bear in June demonstrated the benefits of cooperation among
 state and local government entities in monitoring the bear, but 
allowing it remain a wild animal. The passage of SB3049 is a first
 necessary step that allows the Department to develop formal rules 
and protocols to manage these species.

What will IDNR do to manage wolves, bears and mountain lions.
Right now, IDNR biologists and the Illinois Conservation Police
 working together to develop protocols for addressing interactions 
between people and wolves, bears and mountain lions. 
Conservation Police will share this information with local law enforcement agencies, the 
likely first-responders in the event of a sighting or nuisance call. 

Currently, Illinois Conservation Police officers are allowing these
 animals to go on their way unless they pose a threat.

What are the chances of populations of wolves, black bears and
 mountain lions becoming established in Illinois?

Re-colonization by these species is possible although Illinois has
 relatively little suitable habitat in large enough blocks to support 
these animals.

According to habitat models, only about 14.7 percent of Illinois’ 
area is suitable for black bears, 6.6 percent for mountain lions and
 14 percent for gray wolves.

What can Illinois residents do to be prepared for encounters with these species?
Property owners can avoid encounters with wildlife by securing potential food sources, including pet food, barbecue grills, trash and other sources. Bird feeders can be taken down temporarily in the event of a local sighting.

Learn more about living with wildlife in Illinois:

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