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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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Friday, November 18, 2016

Will the few male Florida Pumas who have crossed the Caloosahatchee River finally have a chance to mate with a bachlorette Puma?...........So critical for the states 100-200 Pumas who are "marooned south of the Caloosahatchee to spread their wings and multiply to population levels that would be large enough to prevent a plague from causing them to "blink out" and be gone from the east coast............Now, with a female prospector having been bold enough to swim the river and with the Nature Conservancy and Rancher Dwayne House setting aside his riverside ranch as a protected corridor for northward moving "cats", there is a chance for natural recolonization from mid Florida north..........Time will tell if the "roll of natures dice" allow a breeding population to become established here

Why Scientists Are Psyched About a River-Crossing Panther

This big cat is the first female thought to enter the area in over 40 years

November 15, 2016

by:Erin Blakemore;

Trail Cam photos of Female Puma who crossed the Caloosahatchee
Why did the panther cross the river? It sounds like the beginning of a bad joke, but the answer to the question—to get to the other side—is enough to put a smile on any conservationist’s face. At least, that’s the case in Florida, where evidence of a female panther’s river crossing has been hailed as good news for an endangered population. As Jenny Staletovich reports for The Miami Herald, officials just confirmed the river crossing, signaling a milestone for one of Florida’s most threatened animals.
The river in question is the Caloosahatchee in southwest Florida, and it’s the first time in over 40 years a female panther is thought to have crossed the river. Staletovich reports that the panther appears to have staked out new territory north of the river—a fact that could help the panther population recover if she mates with males who have crossed the river, too.

That’s a big deal for a species that once dominated the region, but is endangered today. As the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service notes, there are fewer than 100 Florida panthers in south Florida today, and 95 percent of their original range has been lost. Before the 1800s, the cats roamed freely throughout the southeastern United States, but as the area became more settled their numbers began to dwindle. In 1832, Florida counties began to offer bounties for panther hides in an attempt to protect people and livestock from the cats. The hunted creatures declined as their habitat got smaller and smaller. Within a century, the majestic panther—Florida’s state animal—was nearly extinct.
Conservationists and wildlife officials have spent decades trying to restore panther populations. The secretive creatures traditionally have a wide range, so maintenance of their favored wetland and swamp habitats is key. Monitoring is equally important—officials use cameras and track their paw prints to determine where they live and breed. In this case, the female panther’s historic river crossing was documented by trail cameras. In a statement about the find, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission writes that biologists used tracks found near the cameras to verify that the river-crossing cat is, in fact, female.

Not everyone will find the growing panther population cause for celebration: As the population has rebounded, so have threats to cattle. Last year, the FWC Commission asked the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to consider new criteria for panther recovery in the face of the species’ growing numbers, which was a controversial move. But even as officials ponder how to balance the needs of panthers and humans, more panthers means more panther deaths. This year alone, panther deaths due to cars rose to near record numbers in Florida.

Caloosahatchee River running northeast of Ft. Meyers

As the lone female panther prowls her newly expanded habitat, it’s anyone’s guess how she’ll affect the growing number of panthers in the area. But one thing’s for sure: A single river crossing symbolizes just how far the embattled species has come

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