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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, September 7, 2014

I hope all of you enjoy as much as I do the first person Early America wildlife accounts depicted by Explorers, Frontiersmen, Soldiers and Naturalists from the 16th, 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.........It is one of my key " interest-entry" points that led me to begin writing this blog back in March of 2010..............I find it exciting to come across a book or journal account from these eras describing the Serengeti-like multitudes of carnivores and hoofed browsers( biologists estimate 60 million bison, 250,000 wolves, 50,000 Grizzlies and 50,000 mountain lions) that successfully lived alongside as many as an estimated 2 to 12 million native Americans, circa AD 1500..........Three hundreds years after the first European Explorers entered the New World, Henry Rowe Schoolcraft who discovered the source of the Mississippi River had this to say about Wolves(likely red wolves-canis rufus) in the year 1818 at the border of present day Missouri/Arkansas------“While lying before our campfire last night, the wolves set up their howling, apparently within 200 yards of us" ............. "While camped along the Current River,, we had little apprehension for our safety"(It is a crime that our film makers depict Wolves as man eaters--blogger Rick)........."When we awoke, the wolves were still on an adjacent hill"...........“Innumerable tracks of deer, wolf, elk, bear and turkey” in the snow, “affording a perfect map of their movements".....................Due to us human animals having "lazy" and "sloppy" domestic livestock penning and care-taking regimines, the wolves, pumas,and bears were systematically extirminated.......As the ozark writer Silas Turnbo wrote in 1844, "They shot them(wolves), caught them in pen traps, steel traps, poisoned them and destroyed whelps until it would seem that there was not a live wolf left to tell the doleful tale of their destruction".......... "But instead of being exterminated, they appeared to increase in numbers as fast as they were thinned out"

Early settlers 

describe interaction

 with wolves

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Posted: Saturday, September 6, 2014 12:03 am

In the winter of 1818-1819, a
 young Henry Rowe Schoolcraft
 — he would later become
 famous as the man who discovered the source of 
the Mississippi River — wandered west into the
 largely unexplored Ozarks. For three months he
 and a lone companion explored as far south and
 west as modern-day Branson and the James River,
 near Springfield, before entering Arkansas.
His journal is filled with descriptions of game — deer, 
turkey and elk — as well as large predators, including 
wolves. He does not distinguish the species of wolf, 
but most scientists and experts today believe it was 
most likely the red wolf that lived deep in the Ozarks.
 Once found throughout the Southeastern United
 States, the red wolf is larger than a coyote but
 smaller than a gray wolf.

“While lying before our campfire last night, the 
wolves set up their howling, apparently within
 200 yards of us,” Schoolcraft wrote on Nov. 11,
 1818, while camped along the Current River. “...
 We had little apprehension for our safety ... 
when we awoke, the wolves were still on an 
adjacent hill.”
Later, south of Springfield, he describes
 “innumerable tracks of deer, wolf, elk, bear and
 turkey” in the snow, “affording a perfect map of 
their movements.”

But even before Schoolcraft set out on his journey,
 the territorial Legislature in Missouri had put out a
bounty on wolves — $2 if the animal was found within
 two miles of a settlement.
A generation after Schoolcraft, in 1844, Silas Turnbo
 was born on the White River. Before he died in 1925,
 he left behind an account of early Ozarks’ life that
 includes stories of wolves. Turnbo does not distinguish
 between wolf species, either, but notes that because
 of attacks on livestock, settlers “did the acts of
 savages and in some cases inflicted the most creel
(cruel) treatment on the ravenous beast they could
invent in payment for the destruction of property.”

Some settlers, he wrote, stripped the hide off captured
 wolves and then released them; others knocked the
 teeth out of the captured animals, then turned their dogs
 on them.
“They shot them, caught them in pen traps, steel traps,
poisoned them and destroyed whelps until it would seem
 that there was not a live wolf left to tell the doleful tale
of their destruction, but instead of being exterminated,
 they appeared to increase in numbers as fast as they
were thinned out.”
Russell Thorton--
Native American Demographics

The indigenous tribal populations of North America north of the Rio Grande
River—referred to generically here as "Native Americans," a term encompassing
American Indians, Inuit (Eskimo), and Aleutian Islanders—declined drastically
following European colonization. How drastic the decline was is debated
since estimates of aboriginal population size for the area vary widely. The classic
estimate of aboriginal population size for this area is James Mooney's
1,152,000 million for North America north of the Rio Grande River at first
(extensive) European contact (see Mooney 1928). Subsequent scholars generally
accepted Mooney's estimate until 1966, when Henry Dobyns (1966) asserted
an aboriginal population size for North America north of Mexico of between
9.8 and 12.25 million; in i983, he increased his asserted size to 18 million
(north of Mesoamerica) (see Dobyns 1983).

Scholars now agree that Mooney's population estimate significantly underestimated
aboriginal population size for the area north of the Rio Grande River.
Most scholars also consider Dobyns's estimates to be excessive, although little
consensus for a higher population figure exists. Estimates vary from around 2
million by Douglas Ubelaker (1988) to almost 4 million (reduced from an earlier
estimate of almost 4.5 million) by William M. Denevan (1992 [1976], xviixxix)
to the slightly more than 7 million estimate I arrived at and continue to use
(see Thornton and Marsh-Thornton 1981, 47-53; Thornton 1987, 25-32).l 
0026-3079/2005/4603/4-023S2.50/0 American Studies, 46:3/4 (Fall-Winter 2005): 23-38
Indigenous Studies Today, 1 (Fall 2005/Spring 2006)
23,24 Russell Thornton

My estimate includes somewhat more than 5 million people for the conterminous
United States area and somewhat more than 2 million for present-day Canada,
Alaska, and Greenland combined. (See Daniel 1992, for a recent, thorough consideration
of North American estimates.)

Whatever the aboriginal population size, substantial depopulation occurred
after Europeans commenced their conquest of North America, although the pattern
and extent of depopulation varied over time, from region to region and
from tribe to tribe.2 (And, the conquest was achieved in part because of the
depopulation, one beginning early in the sixteenth century and continuing to the
beginnings of the twentieth century.)

 Much Native American population decline
resulted from European and African diseases introduced unintentionally
into this hemisphere. As Merbs concludes: "the two worlds of disease were
different enough so that the post-Columbian effects of Old World diseases on
the Native Americans was [sic] devastating" (Merbs 1992, 36). New diseases
which impacted native populations in the Western Hemisphere include smallpox,
measles, the bubonic plague, cholera, typhoid, diphtheria, scarlet fever,
various forms of influenza and whooping cough,3 malaria, and yellow fever as
well as some venereal diseases

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