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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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Thursday, February 25, 2016

The once preeminent Bumblebee of the northwest states, Bombus, occidentalis, took a steep population dive in the 1990's, likely due to the Nosema parasite...........Now, the Bees seem to be rebounding, perhaps through a very fast evolutionary metamorphosis that enables them to fight off the adverse impacts of the parasite

Rare bumblebee makes comeback

By Dana Kobilinsky

Bombus occidentalis, also known as the western bumblebee, is making a return in the Pacific Northwest. ©naturalflow
Populations of the bumblebee species Bombus occidentalis have been taken on a rollercoaster ride of declining and re-emerging, but the bees now appears to be on the ascending part of the ride, according to recent research.
The species had once been the most common bumblebees in the Pacific Northwest, but faced major declines in the mid-1990s to the point where it was one of the rarest.
“The population seems at least to be re-emerging where it hadn’t been seen in the last 10 years,” said James Strange, a researcher at the USDA’s Pollinating Insects Research Unit at Utah State University, in a release. “There is some resilience in the population of Bombus occidentalis. They do seem to be coming back.” Strange is one of the authors of a newly published study in the Journal of Insect Science.
Researchers have suggested that the Nosema parasite might have played a role in the bees’ decline. However, studying the parasite isn’t an easy feat.
“When we try to raise the bees in captivity, they die, so we can’t do a lot of experimental work to show that this [parasite] is really the thing [killing bees],” Strange said. “We have a lot of correlation, but we can never get the species without the pathogen. We can’t clean this pathogen out.”
The researchers are looking for reasons why the bees are currently re-emerging. Strange suggests the upswing is due to evolution. He says the parasite may be losing its pathogenic effect or individual bees may have become resistant to it.
Dana Kobilinsky is an associate science writer at The Wildlife Society. Contact her at with any questions or comments about her article. 

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