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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, September 20, 2016

Wisconsin is about to undertake a 5 year study of how predators impact Deer in the southwestern portion of the state............Chronic Wasting Disease, a brain disease causing Deer to to go mad and ultimately die, impacts roughly 9 to 10% of Wisconsin's deer herd.............So Governor Walker and his Natural Resource folks want to see if predators are upping the ante and casuging Deer herds to shrink precipitously because of the weakened state that CWD puts deer in.................As Wolves and Pumas do not exist in southwest Wisconsin where the study is taking place, it seems silly to be spending $3 million on a study that will target coyotes and bobcats, neither of which have been shown to be debilitating predators of deer in the nearby northeastern states of NY and Pennsylvania.............In fact, if Wisconsin really wants to lower the incidence of CWD, they should try to create as favorable a habitat as possible for Wolves so that these key deer predators can knock off as many disease ridden deer as possible.......Optimize biodiversity by reducing the current 15 to 30+ deer per square mile back down to less than 10--- and you will see a drop off in this "crowding fueled" plague

Natural Resources department to launch deer predator study

State wildlife officials plan to launch a five-year study next month that they say should provide unprecedented data on how predators, chronic wasting disease and other factors affect deer survival in southwestern Wisconsin.
The Department of Natural Resources will begin start the $3 million effort by capturing and placing radio collars on deer predators, such as bobcats and coyotes, in Dane, Iowa and Grant counties in October. The agency will start capturing and collaring deer in January.

Iowa County, Wisconsin in red
Map of Wisconsin highlighting Iowa County


The collars will be equipped with GPS tracking devices that will record and display information on the animals multiple times per day. Plans call for capturing and collaring 200 adult deer, including bucks and does, 100 fawns and 60 predators annually. The agency plans to use staff and trappers to capture and collar predators and hire between 15 to 20 field technicians to capture and collar deer, DNR big-game ecologist Kevin Wallenfang said.
The study should result in unprecedented information on movement, behavior, habitat use and predator-prey survival, DNR Wildlife and Forestry Research Section Chief Scott Hull wrote in a memo to the agency's board.

Deer emaciated due to Chronic Wasting Disease
Image result for deer with chronic wasting disease
The study will take place in two areas: One spans the Grant and Iowa county line with low CWD-infection rates, and the other will span a portion of the Iowa and Dane county line where CWD infection rates are high. Running the study in both areas will help DNR scientists better understand how the disease may be interacting with predators and other environmental factors to affect deer survival, Hull wrote.

Chronic wasting disease affects deer's brains, causing them to grow thin, act strangely and ultimately die. It was first found in Wisconsin in 2002 near Mount Horeb. The DNR initially attempted to contain the disease by eradicating as many deer as possible, a plan generated intense public backlash and led to the agency ultimately backing off on eradication.
The DNR's current strategy calls for reducing local herds in isolated areas of infect that appear far from known disease clusters but centers mostly on simply monitoring the disease's spread.
The disease has moved beyond southwestern Wisconsin into 41 of the state's 72 counties. Test results released in March show 9.4 percent of the 3,133 deer tested last year were infected, the highest prevalence rate since the disease's discovery in the state.
The study is part of a series of initiatives Gov. Scott Walker announced in May to bolster CWD surveillance and better understand the disease. The governor called for more studies on deer populations, research investments, a best practices plan for captive deer farms and biannual deer farm fence inspections.
The money for the study will come from federal Pittman-Robertson grants, which are funded through federal sales taxes on guns and ammunition

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