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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, May 16, 2017

The plight of the resident Orca Whales in the Salish Sea is a striking example of how everything is connected and how when we human animals "mess" with "natures's mosaic of life", optimum biodiversity gets badly compromised.................The year round resident Orca Whales in the Salish Sea, the intricate network of coastal waterways that include the southwestern portion of British Columbia, Canada and the northwestern portion of Washington State are under siege..............By drastically damming our West Coast River Systems, the once mighty Salmon runs are a trickle of their historical levels..............Salish Sea resident Orca Whales that do not migrate depend on Salmon...............As a result, the Whales are starving and are in jeopardy of "blinking out" and being extirpated over the years ahead.....................Conversely, the migrating Orcas that come through the Salish feed on Sea Lions and Seals ......................And as we humans have banned the killing of these creatures, the migrating Orcas have a smorgasboard of food to dine on-- With the result, a doubling of their population over the last 25 years.................How the web of life will ultimately be compromised is still to be determined but it is a sure thing that "nature's design" will not be as robust in the Salish Sea.....................The great biologist and Environmentalist E.O. Wilson speaks knowingly and concernedly about deteriorating environmental conditions such as the one that we are seeing taking place in the Salish----- "The totality of life, known as the biosphere to scientists and creation to theologians, is a membrane of organisms wrapped around Earth so thin it cannot be seen edgewise from a space shuttle, yet so internally complex that most species composing it remain undiscovered"................. "The membrane is seamless"....... "From Everest's peak to the floor of the Mariana Trench, creatures of one kind or another inhabit virtually every square inch of the planetary system"................... "The worst thing that will probably happen—in fact is already well underway—is not energy depletion, economic collapse, conventional war, or the expansion of totalitarian governments"........ "As terrible as these catastrophes would be for us, they can be repaired in a few generations".................... "The one process now going on that will take millions of years to correct is loss of genetic and species diversity by the destruction of natural habitats"........ "This is the folly our descendants are least likely to forgive us"

West Coast Transient Orcas Are Booming While Resident Orcas In Salish Sea Struggle

A file photo of orcas in Puget Sound with Seattle in the background.
NOAA/Candice Emmons
New research shows some of the orca populations that visit the Salish Sea are booming while the orcas who spend most of their time there are suffering. It comes down to what the different orcas eat.
Orcas known as southern residents spend most of their time in the Salish Sea — Washington’s Puget Sound, British Columbia’s Georgia Strait and the Strait of Juan de Fuca separating the U.S. and Canada. Resident orcas in this inland sea only eat salmon. And, since salmon populations are declining,those orcas are starving.
Other orcas travel up and down the West Coast. They eat seals and sea lions, and their numbers have been increasing. Gary Wiles, a researcher for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife who wrote a report about the status of the orcas of the Salish Sea, says that’s thanks to the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972.
“That stopped the killing of harbor seals and sea lions by fishermen,” Wiles explains. “So, because the transients feed primarily on those animals, you know, numbers have probably doubled over the last twenty-five years or so.”
At the same time, Wiles adds, the numbers don’t tell the whole story about transient orcas, which are “more contaminated than the southern residents. We have polluted waters here and those work their way up through the food chain all the way up to orcas.”
In other words, pollutants become concentrated in fish that are lower in the food chain. When seals and sea lions eat those fish, that toxic pollution becomes more concentrated in their body tissue. And so the transient orcas’ prey is more toxic than that of the southern residents.
And then there’s the other kind of pollution: vessel noise. Wiles says that hurts southern resident orcas more than transient orcas because of how the residents use sonar to find fish to eat.

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