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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, March 30, 2015

LIke in so much of the USA, Black Bears were virtually gone from Oklahoma at the turn of the 20th century.............In the late 1960s, the bears began making a comeback in Oklahoma after the successful reintroduction of 250 black bears in the Ouachita and Ozark Mountains of Arkansas..... That initial rewilding from northern Minnesota and Manitoba, Canada grew to several thousand bears in the mountains of Arkansas, which then expanded into southwest Missouri and eastern Oklahoma.......It is estimated that Oklahoma now houses some 500-1000 bruins with a hunting season that has been in effect since 2009...............Oklahoma State University has been studying the Bears and was excited to announce that female to male sex ratio of the bears has tilted female which suggests a stable population forming in the state

  • OSU graduate 

  • students conduct

  •  black bear

  •  population studies

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    • By Sean Hubbard
      Posted Mar. 30, 2015 at 3:00 PM
      Updated at 6:57 PM 

      As the weather warms and vegetation begins to grow,

      the black bears living in southeastern Oklahoma will

      begin to come out of their dens.
       Before they do, however, graduate students in

      Oklahoma State University’s Department of Natural

      Resource Ecology and Management, went to the

      known locations of several bears to gather some

      information. Morgan Pfander, doing her graduate

      research on the bear population in and around

      the Ouachita Mountains, recently led a crew of

      nearly 20 to check on a momma bear and her cub.

      “We record weight,

      chest girth, sex

      and distinguishing

      marks for the cubs,”

      Pfander said. “We

      also give it a PIT

      tag, a passive integrated transponder, which we

      can scan for identification purposes if we ever

      catch the cub again.”
       To date, the researchers have 66 bears

      marked with the central objective of

      determining the current population status of

      American black bear in southeast Oklahoma.
       “I am in the field throughout the year, running

      trap lines in the summer to capture bears for

      the mark/recapture portion of my study,

      tracking collared bears to their dens in late

      winter, and visiting dens in late spring to

      collect reproduction data and vegetation

      measurements at the den sites,” Pfander said.
      Oklahoma black bears were all but eliminated

      by the early 1900s, but recent decades have

      seen bears recolonize in portions of their old

      stomping grounds. After initial studies on

      the species’ demographics and range, the

      Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation

      opened a hunting season on the bears in 2009.

      Questions soon arose regarding the effects

      of the hunting season on the population, leading

      to the funding of several graduate projects,

      including Pfander’s.
      “Although we only have preliminary data,

      we are finding a female-biased sex ratio,”

      she said. “Ten years ago they didn’t find

      that the sex ratio was statistically different

      from 1-to-1.”

      Female-biased sex

      ratios have been noted in other core habitat

      areas of well-established black bear

      populations, so the thought is the population

      has “settled in” a bit more since the early

      studies, when the bears were just beginning

      to reestablish themselves in the state. 
      “There are not many places where a large

      carnivore species has been able to naturally

      recolonize part of its former range, but

      it has here in Oklahoma,” Pfander said.

      “The timeline of this recolonization and

      the implementation of a hunting season

      presents us with a unique combination of

      demographic influences, as well.”
      It will not be long before the bears come

      out of hibernation and start their cycle all

      over again. Females will breed in the

      summer, but delay the implantation of

      the blastocyst until the fall, allowing

      them to give birth in late winter during


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