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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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Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Regardless of some natural history articles continuing to put forth the premise that the Red Fox(Vulpes vulpes-latin name) might not have been native to North America and instead was introduced into the New World by Europeans around AD1500-1650, the most recent research establishes the fact that both the red and gray fox species was endemic to various parts of what is now the USA at the time of colonization.............In fact, Colonist introduced red foxes from Europe(all red foxes are one species regardless of what part of the planet they occupy) seem to have been displaced in the eastern USA by an expanding eastern movement of red foxes already present in eastern Canada and the northeastern USA........... Outside of Washington State and California where European red foxes that live amongst us are of mixed American and European origen, Red Foxes in the East today are of native American ancestry(see highlighted paragraphs below)



Red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) are native to boreal and western montane portions of North America but their origins are unknown in many lowland areas of the United States. Red foxes were historically absent from much of the East Coast at the time of European settlement and did not become common until the mid-1800s
. Some early naturalists described an apparent southward expansion of native foxes that coincided with anthropogenic habitat changes in the region. Alternatively, red foxes introduced from Europe during Colonial times may have become established in the east and subsequently expanded their range westward. 

 The red fox also was absent historically from most lowland areas of the western United States. Extant populations of red foxes in those areas are considered to have arisen from intentional introductions from the east (and by extension are putatively European), escapes or releases from fur farms, or range expansions by native populations.
 To test these hypotheses we compared mitochondrial DNA sequences (cytochrome band D-loop) from 110 individuals from 6 recently established populations to 327 native (primarily historical) individuals from Eurasia, Alaska, Canada, the northeastern United States, and montane areas in the western contiguous United States, and to 38 individuals from fur farms. 
We found no Eurasian haplotypes in North America, but found native haplotypes in recently established populations in the southeastern United States and in parts of the western United States. Red foxes from the southeastern United States were closely related to native populations in eastern Canada and the northeastern United States, suggesting that they originated from natural range expansions, not from translocation of European lineages, as was widely believed prior to this study.
Similarly, recently established populations in the Great Basin and in western Oregon originated primarily from native populations in western montane regions, but also contained a few nonnative North American haplotypes.
 In contrast, populations in western Washington and southern California contained nonnative, highly admixed stock that clearly resulted from intracontinental translocations. Several common haplotypes in these populations originated in regions where fur-farm stocks originated. 
Although European red foxes translocated to the eastern United States during Colonial times may have contributed genetically to extant populations in that region, our findings suggest that most of the matrilineal ancestry of eastern red foxes originated in North America.
Read the full article here

Red Foxes: the Most Widespread Carnivorous Mammals on Earth

Vulpes vulpes, the Red Fox, is the most widespread carnivorous mammal on earth, with 45 subspecies being found throughout. Our local subspecies isVulpes vulpes fulva. It is found naturally or has been introduced to many parts of the world, being invasive in some places it was introduced into, such as Australia and some islands. Our version has its own interesting history, not being originally native to the mid-Atlantic, but now being among our most common predators.

There are a couple of leading theories as to why we have them around here now. Some believe them to be a combination of the introduced English Red Fox and North American Red Foxes that colonized this part of the country after it was altered by farming to make it more suitable for them. Others think they moved in when the land was changed for agriculture and that the introduced English foxes were lost in the mix, not playing a significant role in establishing what we now consider our red fox.

Fox hunting has always had an important place in our region and most specially in the Commonwealth of Virginia, as it has in quite a few former British colonies. Many of our forefathers were quite fond of chasing foxes. In fact, our own Father of the Country, George Washington, is considered the father of the American Foxhound as well, a breed he helped develop. The American Foxhound is the Virginia State Dog, and Washington experimented with improvements in breeding this dog due to his great love for the chase. Mount Vernon was the site for regular hunts both before and after the revolution.

Most Widespread Carnivore on the Planet? The Red Fox

Most widespread carnivore on the planet? The red fox

by Natural Selections , in Canton, NYby Natural Selections , in Canton, NY

Jun 29, 2017 — The red fox isn't always red. The silver fox, for example, is the same species. But they will usually have a white tail tip and always wear black "boots." You can find the red fox pretty much everywhere, from the North Country back yard to the Australian Outback.

Red fox with kits at play. Photo: Pam Moncelli, Massena, NY

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