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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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Tuesday, November 10, 2015

"We suggest that cougars are likely to recolonize habitat patches in the Midwest in the next 25 years, regardless of current harvest pressure",,,,,,,,,,,,,,,How come so many Biologists disagree with this forecast of midwestern Puma recolonization from Michelle La Rue and Clayton Nielsen?????..............Because hunting and trapping seasons in the easternmost Puma breeding colonies in South Dakota and Nebraska are hammering the populations there..............Reduce the Pumas in these regions and you greatly reduce the chance of the random female drifting hundreds of miles east to hook up with a random male nomad bachelor...........If we want to see Pumas in the midwest anytime soon breeding and reproducing, than either the states or the USFW folks will have to come around and re-introduce them---Rare chance of recoloniztion occurring without this........

"Population Viability of Recolonizating Cougars in Midwestern North America

Population viability of recolonizing cougars in midwestern North America

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We used a spatially explicit model to determine population viability of cougars.
We modeled hunting and no hunting scenarios in western, source populations.
Models were most sensitive to mean and maximum dispersal distances.
Cougars are likely to occupy seven large patches of midwestern habitat in 25 years.


Although cougar (Puma concolor) populations have been absent from most of midwestern North America for >100 years, the combination of long-distance dispersal and a significant increase in presence of cougars in the Midwest since 1990 suggests an eastward range expansion. Building on previous research on potential cougar habitat in the Midwest, we modeled two scenarios that could impact recolonization of cougars (annual harvest of cougars in western populations versus no harvest) in a spatially explicit population viability analysis (PVA). We built a stage-based demographic model for cougars using values for survival and fecundity from 40 years of published literature. We then modeled population viability of cougars in the Midwest for 25 years in RAMAS/GIS. We calculated a mean ╬╗ = 1.083, and found that our study area comprised 9.6% highly suitable habitat patches for cougars. Our no-harvest model indicated all eight large patches of habitat in the Midwest occupied after 25 years; the harvest scenario found seven of eight large patches occupied. Both models were most sensitive to changes in dispersal rates and distances, and were least sensitive to changes in stage matrix means or deviations. We suggest that cougars are likely to recolonize habitat patches in the Midwest in the next 25 years, regardless of current harvest pressure. Our study is an important step forward in understanding cougar potential in the Midwest, as successful conservation and management strategies will require an integrated approach regarding the potential for presence of a large carnivore in the region.


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