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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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Saturday, November 22, 2014

Shawn T. O′Neil, Kasey C. Rahn, Joseph K. Bump from the School of the Forest Resources and Environmental Science, Michigan Technological University have just published a peer reviewed paper that prognosticates that Michigan and Wisconsin could sustain a Puma population of at least 500 based on white tail deer, human population and road densities................You can read the entire article by clicking on the link below............Thanks to Chris Spatz of COUGAR REWILDING for providing us with this article

Habitat Capacity for Cougar Recolonization in the Upper Great Lakes Region

  • Shawn T. O′Neil,
  • Kasey C. Rahn,
  • Joseph K. Bump mail
  • Published: November 12, 2014
  • DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0112565

click on this link to read full peer reviewed article----PLOS ONE

Cougar Capacity

Deer density estimates per DMU ranged from 0.5 to >20 deer/km2 ( = 11.1, SD = 6.1; Fig. 3a). Using these estimates and three potential age/sex population structures, deer biomass per DMU could conceivably range from approximately 3,000 kg/100 km2 (unbalanced age structure, lowest deer density) to over 200,000 kg/100 km2 (balanced age structure, highest deer density). After restricting the DMUs to favorable cougar habitat, the mean deer biomass estimates per DMU within potential cougar habitat were approximately 10,000–165,000 kg/100 km2 depending on the age/sex structure applied (Table 5). Thus, we estimated that prey biomass within potential cougar habitat was geographically variable and could support up to 15 cougars/100 km2 (Fig. 3b). However, we also assumed that >3 cougars/100 km2 anywhere within the study area was unrealistic despite high deer densities in some areas. Using three different maximum viable densities (1, 2, and 3 cougars/100 km2) and allowing lower estimates to depend on approximations of deer biomass where deer densities were low, we calculated that available resources could sustain 582 to 1,677 cougars within favorable habitat.
Using Geographic Information Systems (GIS), we extended a cougar habitat model to Michigan and Wisconsin and incorporated primary prey densities to estimate the capacity of the region to support cougars. Results suggest that approximately 39% (>58,000 km2) of the study area could support cougars, and that there is potential for a population of approximately 500 or more animals. An exploratory validation of this habitat model revealed strong association with 58 verified cougar locations occurring in the study area between 2008 and 2013.
The study area for an analysis of cougar habitat and capacity for the Upper Great Lakes states, USA.
Probable and verified cougar locations are represented from 1 January, 2008 to 1 June, 2013.
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