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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, December 31, 2010

1596-98 Diary records kept by Spanish Army Commanders as they marched from Mexico(then called New Spain) into New Mexico...............Buffalo and all types of animals were found to be plentiful...."IT IS A LAND ABOUNDING IN GAME"....................................and with that statement that warms the hearts of all of us who share a vision for Rewilding this Continent...........I wish you all a Happy, healthy and productive New Year ahead


 ON November 4 Captain Márquez arrived from New Spain and left Puaray for Acoma, following the governor.
On the 8th the sargento mayor came back from the land of the buffalo. He brought quantities of meat, fat, and tallow, although he was unable to bring any live animals. There were infinite numbers of them. Their hide is very woolly and thick. He traveled seventy leagues inland, as far as the pueblo which is nine leagues long. Several times he found traces of Umafia On Wednesday, November 18, at noon, the maese de campo set out for the South sea, following the governor.
 From the peñol of Acoma, traveling to Zuñi and Mohoce, provinces with well-disposed Indians, to the source of the Mala Nueva river it is four leagues. It is eight to Agua de la Peña, and four to the spring which flows 'to Zuñi. In that region there are three pueblos in ruins. It is three leagues to the first pueblo of Zulfii-sl. At that place our men were well received and furnished with what they needed. It is a land abounding in game. There are crosses, erected in former times, and the Indians worship and offer them what they offer their idols. At that place descendants of the Mexican Indians left there by Coronado were found.

From the first pueblo of this province of Zuñi, in which there are six, to the last one, it is three leagues. From here to the province of Mohoce, it is six leagues to Cieneguilla, and six more to the small springs [Manantialejos].
There are crosses on the way to the first pueblo of Mohoqui or Mohoce. The natives scatter meal as a sign of friendship. The distance is five leagues. To the second pueblo it is threeleagues. To the fourth pueblo, going through the third, it is four leagues. The people are all very good. They wear blankets,
generally of istle, excellent and beautifully painted cotton clothing, and skins of the buffalo and other animals.

From the mines of Casco, in the government of New Vizcaya (when the latitude was taken on June 20, 1596, the army was at 27 degrees), to New Mexico, describing the watering places and their distances apart, in leagues. The entire road is suitable for carts, both by way of the ranch of Rodrigo de Rio and by Avifio.2 Prepared by a witness, a priest, who saw and experienced it all and who reports the truth.

Idaho Woverine Study has enlisted all the stakeholders................snowmobilers, skiers and environmentalists to help determine how much human impact our "Bearcats" can withstand before they abandon a given territory.....................I like the approach as long as all of the parties stay above board and reveal the facts that they uncover...., not "redlining" and omitting anything pertinent that would flaw the research and leave us without the true skinny on exactly what type and what level of interactions Wolverines can have with humans

Last week, the Idaho Statesman newspaper published an article about recreational vehicle impacts on wolverines in the Payette, Boise, and Sawtooth National Forests. The piece focused on a study investigating questions about the extent to which snowmobilers and skiers disturb denning female wolverines, and researchers desire to find out whether winter backcountry recreation really does threaten the animals. Now that the wolverine is up for consideration for listing under the Endangered Species Act, answering this question has become pretty important.Snowmobilers, backcountry skiers, and advocacy groups all have a stake in the outcome of this study.

Traditional Western endangered species conflict calls for outraged recreationists to accuse environmental advocacy groups and the federal government of infringing on their rights, while environmental advocacy groups evoke wilderness and science to enforce their aims. Meanwhile the researchers remain stuck in the limbo of trying to maintain objectivity while taking shots from all sides. Wolves and spotted owls are probably the best examples of this predictable drama, which serves--over and over again, ad nauseum--as a proxy for deeply rooted values conflicts.

If the US Fish and Wildlife Service determines that wolverines are threatened, land managers may have the latitude to make land use changes to remote backcountry in order to protect wolverines--if  researchers determine that human disturbance actually does result in den abandonment.

Hidden in the Statesman article, however, is a line that suggests that the wolverine case could turn out differently: "The study about wolverines is co-sponsored by the Idaho Snowmobile Association. In 2009 Rocky Mountain Research Station and asked to partner to research the effects of backcountry recreation on wolverines. Over the past few years, major environmental advocacy groups have intimated that wolverine safety is a justification for restricting snowmobile access to the backcountry.

The vigorous debate over snowmobiles in places like Yellowstone has a history dating back to a time before wolverines were of interest to anyone, and from a certain cynical perspective, easy to suggest that environmental advocacy groups perceive the wolverine as just one more piece of ammunition--a particularly charismatic cannonball, perhaps--to be employed in a battle that ultimately has to do with aesthetics.

It is worth reiterating that to date, there is no scientific proof that backcountry use results in wolverine kit mortality, despite the fact that certain groups are using that claim to try to restrict snowmobile access. On the other hand, the lack of proof doesn't mean that backcountry recreation doesn't affect wolverines. It is frequently at this point, when proof is still lacking, that many endangered species debates get derailed into arguments over the accuracy of the science, rather than addressing those much more complicated underlying values conflicts.

This time, though, someone was smart enough to think ahead and at least narrow the margin of uncertainty around the science.  Snowmobilers are willingly taking GPS dataloggers with them into the backcountry to map their use patterns, while wolverine biologists are tracking instrumented animals. The study results may not quantify with absolute certainty the effects of human activity on wolverines, but it will perhaps allow less room for speculative claims. With the backing of well-known wolverine biologists and the participation of snowmobilers and skiers, everyone has a share in the research and, to a certain extent, everyone owns the outcome. Whether this will make everyone more amenable to resulting management decisions remains to be seen, but this departure from the same old script is also an experiment well worth conducting.

Rebecca Watters is a Project Manager for the Northern Rockies Conservation Cooperative where she conducts research on wolverines

People love to exaggerate the size of Wolves, Bears and Cougars. It is known that Predators tend to be larger in more Northern latitudes as well as when their prey is outsized. Wolves who feed on Buffalo and Moose tend to be bigger than those who prey on deer..........That is why I continue to feel that Gray Wolves followed Buffalo East across the Mississippi River and co-mingled with Eastern(Red) Wolves in Pennsylvania, NY, NJ and down through the Southern Appalachians....Gray Wolves preying predominantly on Bison and Eastern(Red) Wolves primarily on deer

FAIRBANKS — If you're looking for the biggest wolves in Alaska, head to the Fortymile country.

That's where legendary Alaska wolf trapper and hunter Frank Glaser caught a 175-pound male in the summer of 1939, the largest wolf ever documented in Alaska. Glaser trapped the wolf on the Seventymile River near Eagle.

"They run some big wolves in that country," state wildlife biologist Craig Gardner, who spent 20 years working in the area while stationed at Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Tok, said. While the wolf Glaser caught had a belly full of meat, Gardner captured a 142-pound male with an empty stomach in 1997 when the state was sterilizing wolves as part of a recovery plan for the Fortymile Caribou Herd. The wolf was the alpha male in a pack of 16 wolves.

"He was just enormous," Gardner said.

Wildlife biologist John Burch of the National Park Service caught a 148-pound wolf in 2001 in the Fortymile country, i.e. the Yukon Charley Rivers National Preserve. A female with him weighed 110, Burch said."They were on a moose kill," Burch recalled. "He had a stomach full of meat and so did she."

Burch has caught one other wolf over 140 pounds — a 143 pounder 10 years ago — and four that were over 130 pounds, including a 132 pounder last year.
"Any wolf over 140 I would classify as huge," Burch said.The average weight for an adult male wolf in Alaska is about 100 to 110 pounds while females average about 90 pounds. The biggest wolf in most packs almost always are the alpha males, biologists said.

"If you catch an alpha male out of a pack that weighs 120, that's representative of a big, fully grown adult," said biologist Mark McNay, who spent half of the 27 years he was at the Alaska Department of Fish and Game studying wolves before retiring in 2007.During his career at Fish and Game, McNay captured and weighed more than 300 wolves. The biggest was a 143-pound male he caught in the Alaska Range in 2003. That wolf was the alpha male in a pack of 16 and was coming off a fresh kill, he said.

The biggest female McNay has ever caught was a 118-pound wolf in the late 1980s, which he captured in the same area as the 143-pound male in 2003. The alpha male in that pack weighed about 125 pounds.

"They were in exceptionally good territory that had lots of moose and caribou in it," McNay said.

Most of the wolves in Alaska are what McNay referred to as "moose wolves" because they rely on moose for the bulk of their food. Based on loosely adhered to formula used by biologists, a wolf requires an average of about 10 pounds of food per day. That means an average wolf eats the equivalent of two moose per year.
That's a little misleading because they eat caribou, Dall sheep, a few birds, a few beaver; they eat other things," McNay said.

The weights of wolves fluctuate greatly depending on food availability. Wolves can eat 20 pounds of moose or caribou in one meal if it's available. Wolves "can pack away a lot," McNay said.

"If I caught one that was 143 pounds and it hadn't eaten for a couple days it could be the same size as a 170-pound wolf coming off a fresh kill," he said.

Other biologists agreed wolves are extreme opportunists when it comes to food.

"You find that in stomachs pretty commonly — 15 pounds of meat, hairball and bone," longtime Fairbanks biologist Rod Boertje said. "That's how you get these 140-pound wolves."

"If they have the opportunity to eat a lot they will," Burch added.

While there was no mention of Glaser's giant catch in a book chronicling his wilderness adventures titled "Alaska's Wolf Man" by Jim Rearden, wolf researcher Stanley Young, who worked as a biologist for the U.S. Biological Survey, the predecessor to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, makes mention of it in the book he wrote in 1944, "The Wolves of North America."

"A very large male collected by Frank S. Glaser, July 12, 1939, on 70-Mile River, approximately 50 miles from its mouth in extreme east central Alaska, weighed 175 pounds," Young wrote. "It was the heaviest that has been taken by any of the personnel of the Fish and Wildlife Service."There also is mention of a 172-pound male with a stomach full of meat caught in the Northwest Territories in 1947 and a 157-pound wolf shot on the Savage River drainage in the Alaska Range in 1934

The wolves Burch handles in the Yukon Charley Rivers National Preserve are bigger than the wolves he dealt with working in Denali National Park and Preserve for 10 years. According to his figures, males in the Yukon Charley run about 5 pounds bigger than Denali Park males and females are about 2 pounds larger.

Of the 179 wolves Burch has captured in the Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve since 1993, the average weight for adult males is 111 pounds and for females it is 97.

In Minnesota, where he worked with wolves for seven years, Burch said, "a wolf over 100 pounds was almost unheard of."

Of the 300 or so wolves that biologist Layne Adams with the U.S. Geological Survey has handled working in Denali National Park and Preserve and Gates of the Arctic National Preserve, the biggest was a 135-pound male in Denali. Adams still remembers the size of the wolf as if it were some kind of mutant."The thing was huge to me, compared to what I normally handled," Adams said, noting the average weight of male wolves in Denali is 105 pounds. "The first thing I noticed was the size of his head. It was huge."

Most trappers don't weigh the wolves they catch because they skin them in the field, said Al Barrette at Fairbanks Fur Tannery. Even if they did weigh them, chances are they would weigh less than those handled by biologists because they've been in a trap for several days, he said.

"When trappers catch wolves they're on the move, looking for food, their bellies are empty," said Barrette, a trapper himself. "It's not too often you catch a wolf with a full stomach."Barrette weighs about 50 wolves per year that trappers bring him to skin and the biggest he has ever weighed is 128 pounds.As for talk of 150-pound wolves, Barrette said, "I'd like to see

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Etienne de Veniard, Sieur de Bourgmont's account of the animals and geography of the Missouri River at the dawn of the 18th Century(1714)...............bears, buffalo, deer, beaver, otter, marten, wildcat(cougars), lynx(lynx and/or bobcats) and foxes were prevalent in this most Western sector of the New World where Colonial Powers France and England had staked claims........................And as all of you day to day blog readers know what I am fond of saying..........Where there was Buffalo, Deer, Elk, Moose, Pronghorn and Beaver, there was also the Wolf(despite Bourgmont's lack of mentioning)............doing it's top-down job of keeping prey populations in check

Étienne de Veniard, Sieur de Bourgmont (April 1679–1734) was a French explorer who made the first maps and documented his travels on the Missouri and Platte rivers. He wrote two accounts of his travels with descriptions of the Native American tribes he encountered. He established Fort Orleans, the first European fort on the Missouri River.
Etienne Veniard De Bourgmont's ""Exact Description of Louisiana""
THE ""EXACT DESCRIPTION OF LOUISIANA"" is an essential document for those who wish to learn about the Missouri at the beginning of the 18TH century. The text fixes the location of the indigenous populations which were settled along the river and its principal tributaries, describes for the first time the regions it traverses, and lastly, particularizes the extent of the French penetration. If, as its name indicates, it contains a detailed description of the whole of French Louisiana, only the last part of it being devoted to, the Missouri, it is nevertheless this part which has especially engaged the attention of historians, because of its newness and the fact that previously only the sparsest information, and that not based on a scientific foundation, was available.
 The regions bordering the Missouri River were destined to become a field of mineral exploitation and that the river had been explored over a large part of its course. The missionary, Francois Le Maire, at the beginning of 1714, estimated that, according to some accounts which are apparently erroneous, explorers had already covered it to a distance of 400 leagues.
 This officer, of Norman origin(Bourgmont), in command of Canadian troops, the nephew of a grand vicaire of the bishop of Quebec, had for some years adopted the adventurous career of coureur de bois. In 1706, he abandoned the post at Detroit, where he had just taken over the command, and had gallantly withstood the aggressions of the Renards, to live first as a nomad in the region of Lake Erie and then in the country of the Illinois, but to reconstitute his movements is not possible. A vague allusion by Controller d'Aigremont represents him in 1708 as sharing his life with an Indian woman whose tribe is unknown.
 Bourgmont tells us, for his part, in 1724, that the Missouris had known him for twelve years, which leads one to suppose that he had been established among the latter' since 1712. But we know only that he was in the Illinois in the course of the year 1713 and at the beginning of 1714. The Jesuit fathers, who directed the mission of the Kaskaskia, at that time drew the attention of the governor of Canada and of the minister of marine to the ""scandalous and criminal life"" of several coureurs de boil, one of whom was Wniard de Bourgmont,
"Some leagues further up, on the left side as you ascend, is the great Missouris River, so famed for its swiftness. Its water is always muddy, and especially in spring, making the Missicipi turbid for 400 leagues, and 20 leagues more towards the sea in spring at the time of the flood waters.
The first river is 30 leagues along on the left side as you go up, called the Ausages River on account of the tribe which lives there, who bear the same name. This river leads to about 40 leagues from the Cadaudakious, a tribe of almost the same sort.
This Missouris River runs to the north and the northwest. I shall not give a description of this river. I will only tell which tribes occupy its banks, to my knowledge. There are the Missouris . . ., who are allies of the French. All their trade is in furs. They are not very numerous, they are of very good blood and are more alert than any other tribe. From all the Missouris River can be gotten furs of every kind, very fine and good, as the climate there is very cold. Higher up is found another river which flows, into the Missouris, called the Ecanz River,  on which there is a tribe of the same name, allies and friends of
the French.
 Their trade is in furs. These are the most beautiful countries and the most beautiful pieces of land in the world. The prairies there are like seas and full of wild beasts, especially buffalo, cows, hinds and stags, which are there in numbers that stagger the imagination. They almost always hunt with bow and arrow. They have very fine horses and are very good horsemen. One can get there quantities of deer skins, some buffalo skins and some bear skins. In these regions is also found some saltpeter, from which powder is made . . ., I have seen it tried. I. do not know precisely where it is mined.

Here is what I think can be gotten from the colony of the Natteche, a quantity of tobacco, of silk, as there are many mulberry trees there, of boards if they are suitable, I believe that wheat will grow well there, as the soil is good, at least one would think so, quantities of deer skins, some buffalo skins and bear skins. Rice can also be grown there, since it can be grown in Carolina.
Here is what can be gotten from the Ouabache, from the upper Missouris, from the Illinois River and from the upper Missicipi, to wit, buffalo skins and cow skins, their wool, if it is good for anything, and their hair, stag skins, skins of hinds, skins of roebuck, skins of bears, beaver, otter, marten, wild cat, lynx, wood otter, fox of all kinds, wild cats.

Alaska Wildlife Alliance supporting subsistence hunting(killing animals for food)..................But they(and deservedly so) are very outspoken against Predator trophy hunting which as previous blog entries have discussed, can throw our trophic predators into disarray......destroying social bonds, creating juvenile populations of predators that will look for the easy way to feed a new family(domestic livestock and pet dogs and cats).............

Hunting for the right reasons: Predator control harms ecosystem and isn't helping our rural hunters
by Alexander Simon

The Alaska Wildlife Alliance is a diverse group composed of both hunters and nonhunters. The AWA supports true subsistence hunting, i.e., hunting at the local level, for the sole purpose of attaining meat. Hunting to provide meat for one's self and loved ones can have a variety of positive social and ecological consequences. Commercially produced meat that is consumed in Alaska often travels thousands of miles between its site of production and its site of consumption. Hunting at the local level has a much lower ecological footprint and causes far less suffering to animals than meat shipped from factory farms.Hunting can also enhance the hunter's understanding and appreciation of the species he or she is hunting and how local ecosystems function. Aldo Leopold, a hunter, scientist and founder of the modern environmental movement, observed that "there is value in any experience that reminds us of our dependency on the soil-plant-animal-man food chain, and the fundamental organization of the biota."
The AWA does not support any form of either sport hunting or trophy hunting. Hunting for "sport" or for "trophies" adversely affects wildlife, local ecosystems and local hunters who rely on wildlife as a food source. With the misguided goal of artificially inflating the number of moose and caribou, some hunting organizations, e.g., Safari Club International, Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife and the Alaska Outdoor Council, pressure the Alaska state government to radically reduce the number of both wolves and bears.
Leopold contended that predator species have an inherent right to exist and that they play a vital role in maintaining the health of ecosystems by preventing prey species from becoming over-populated and over-browsing flora. Moreover, he maintained that in most cases, human hunters could not fulfill the biological role that predator species play in maintaining the health of ecosystem.The reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone National Park in 1995 provided wildlife biologists with a unique opportunity to study how wolves affect the health of ungulate populations and the overall health of ecosystems. A multitude of studies in Yellowstone and other areas continue to support Leopold's argument that in the absence of wolves and-or other natural predators, ungulates tend to over-browse plant species, which, in turn, results in dramatic declines in both ungulates and their predators. In fact, some wildlife biologists are now advocating that wolves be reintroduced to various areas of the Lower 48 as a means of restoring the health of ecosystems.
In 2007, Gov. Sarah Palin received a letter signed by 172 scientists expressing their concerns regarding the ecological impacts of the state's predator control programs. The letter concluded that the current methods the state employs to reduce predator numbers may have multiple adverse ecological consequences, including "habitat damage from high ungulate populations that may result in population crashes of both ungulates and predators."
Trophy hunting also deprives both nonhuman predator species and local, rural hunters of access to food. On average, nonresident trophy hunters have killed 2,057 caribou and 1,102 moose annually. Karen Deatherage found that in three of the five wolf-control areas, the majority of the moose were killed by either urban hunters or by hunters who reside outside of Alaska. Deatherage suggested that, "Perhaps a rural preference for subsistence during periods of low prey availability would be helpful in resolving this issue for residents more dependent upon wild game." Both the Alaska Outdoor Council and Safari Club International are opposed to preferential hunting rights based on geographic location. In contrast, the Alaska Wildlife Alliance supports a rural hunting preference as a means of providing greater opportunities for true subsistence hunters and as a means of preserving indigenous cultural practices.

Alaskans are privileged to live in a state which has vast tracts of wilderness. We share these ecosystems with an abundance of wildlife that is either extinct or endangered in other states. The Alaska Wildlife Alliance supports ecologically sustainable hunting practices. However, it strongly opposes any policy or activity which endangers individual species or the integrity of Alaska's aquatic or terrestrial ecosystems.  

Alexander Simon, Ph.D., is a board member of the Alaska Wildlife Alliance and an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Alaska Southeast in Juneau.

It is my deeply held opinion that going from the highly damaging CO2 burning fossil fuel energies(oil, coal, natural gas) to landscape altering and forever damaging Industrial size wind/solar farms is a flawed strategy that must be fought tooth and nail...................We cannot let the General Electric's of the World or even misguided Enviros convince us that ripping up our last remaining Mountain, desert and valley open spaces and placing industrial size 400 foot windmills and expansive solar panels is the right way to power up our Nation............Yes, solar panels on every home and building in the World...............Yes, Wind Mills in every already degraded section of our Cities and Industrial regions....................BUT NO TO DESPOILING THE PRECIOUS REMAINING OPEN SPACE THAT REMAINS.............C'MON VERMONTERS.............DO NOT LET YOUR BEAUTIFUL GREEN MOUNTAINS GET RIPPED TO SHREDS!!!!

If Approved, Wind Project Would Be First On National Forest Land

Susan Keese - Manchester, Vt.
 The Green Mountain National Forest is asking the public to weigh in on a proposed 15-turbine wind farm on national forest land in Readsboro and Searsburg. The 30 megawatt project is being proposed by Deerfield Wind, which is owned by Iberdrola Renewables of Portland Oregon. If approved, the 30 megawatt project would be the first utility-scale wind energy installation on national forest land anywhere in the U.S.
The installation won a certificate of Public Good, with conditions, from the Vermont Public Service Board in 2008. But it also needs approval from the forest service.
Colleen Madrid is the Green Mountain Forest Supervisor,
(Madrid) "Because the Forest Service is the Landowning Agency the forest service is the one that will allow this to happen or not. However there is no decision that's been made internally or externally at this time. We are still collecting information and will make the best decision from that information that we can make."
(Host) The Forest Service has just issued a Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement that details how the wind farm would affect the public lands. One of the main concerns about the Deerfield project has been its interference with prime habitat for black bears.
Madrid says the agency is taking public comments on the plan until February 18.
(Madrid) "We're also going to have a couple of open houses in January... where we hope if the public hasn't written in they can come and look at the maps and talk about the alternatives and talk about what their thoughts are."
(Host) After the public comments are factored in, Madrid, as forest supervisor, will make the final decision.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Journal of Wildlife Management published this essay acknowledging the fact that SCIENCE is under siege by the majority of Conservative thinkers whose world view is shaped by the feeling that everything on Earth is here to be exploited by Man...........that God created the world in 7 days .............that there is no such thing as evolution.............that any adverse impacts(weather fluctuations, extermination of animals and plants) that take place are ordained by the creator and that mans genius and technology will constantly finds ways to adapt and overcome the new obstacles and resource shortages that our greed and short term actions generate------As frightening as this is to me, Scientists must become better Salesmen........................must find ways to bring the message of fact meaningful to the majority of people who are blind followers of the monotheistic beliefs that have ruled human beings for the past 2 to 5000 years

Those of us living in developed countries like the United States are highly dependent on the products of science in our daily lives—whether we're driving, flying, texting, surfing the Web, receiving medical care, or enjoying a well-cooked meal. Most U.S. citizens are exposed to the basics of science beginning in elementary school, and we experience or read about scientific advancements throughout our lives. Why, then, do members of the public and elected representatives seem increasingly less inclined to accept what they hear from scientists, even when there is broad consensus about an issue within the scientific community? Why are scientists—a once-revered group of highly trained professionals—increasingly being characterized as driven by their own political agendas and therefore not to be trusted?

This is a troubling trend, and it's coming at a time in human history when using science as a basis for complex natural resource decision making is more critical than ever. Our natural resources are under siege, the stakeholder universe has changed, and the diversity of views—some of which are becoming less rational and more extreme—has made wildlife management and conservation more complex. The Wildlife Society strongly contends that the most effective way to face these challenges is to promote valid science as the basis for wildlife management and conservation. How the public and key decision makers view science and scientists is therefore of utmost importance to our professional community.

The Roots of Denial
Public rejection or disbelief of science often involves two major and highly controversial areas: evolution and anthropogenic climate change. Scientific evidence and the mainstream scientific community strongly support both concepts as indisputable facts. Yet many in the general public simply aren't buying it. We're even seeing a rise in the numbers of climate change and evolution "deniers" (Boelert 2010, Miller et al. 2006, National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine 2008, Newport 2010). That denial has multiple roots involving religion, politics, and other human complexities.

 Though I respect every individual's right to hold whatever personal beliefs they wish, I fear that those beliefs are, in some cases, exerting undue influence on policymaking and undermining the role of science as a foundation of policy decisions—much to the detriment of our natural resources.

Examples abound. Climate change deniers tend to believe that recent warming trends in Earth's climate are due to natural fluctuations rather than to human influences, even though science has shown that a rapid accumulation of atmospheric greenhouse gasses correlates to human use of fossil fuels and industrialization. Denial of that fact could lead to reluctance to work toward reductions in fossil-fuel use, an unsustainable course.

Likewise, many purveyors of the concepts known as "creationism" and "intelligent design" hold that the Earth is only 6,000 years old, that dinosaurs and humans coexisted, that all of Earth's living creatures were created during a single event, and that these organisms (including humans) have not changed significantly over time. A wealth of scientific evidence—related to genetics, anatomy, and fossil and geologic records—refutes these views. In addition, creationism and intelligent design are not testable theories and therefore lie outside the realm of science.

The denial of science can have direct impacts on wildlife. There's ample scientific evidence, for example, that feral and free-ranging domestic cats are taking a significant toll on native wildlife worldwide, killing millions of birds, rodents, and other animals every year and threatening the existence of some at-risk species such as the Key Largo wood rat, Lower Keys marsh rabbit, and Hawaiian crow or 'Alalā. Yet many animal rights and cat advocate organizations (such as the Humane Society of the United States and Alley Cat Allies) ignore or deny the science about cats and instead attribute the loss of birds and small mammals to factors such as loss of habitat, pollution, and development. While those are indeed contributing factors, science proves that feral cats are voracious non-native predators that are compounding the problem and causing species extinctions on islands and local extirpations of some mainland bird and small mammal populations.

Education Alone Isn't an Answer
So what accounts for the science deniers and how should we as wildlife professionals react to the challenge? Scientists may assume that ignorance is the reason that people reject the cumulative wisdom gained through science. Consequently, many scientists think that improved education will help the deniers change their views. Education is certainly a necessary part of the solution, but it's not enough. Author Chris Mooney makes this point in a recent article in The Washington Post (Mooney 2010). He cites a series of workshops by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS), which concludes that peoples' willingness to accept the results of science is based largely on their existing world views.

A "world view" can be defined as an individual's perspectives on the world, gained through upbringing, education, interactions with peers, experiences, and other factors such as age, race, economic status, political viewpoints, or religious beliefs. The workshops concluded that regardless of the validity of the science behind a given issue, people tend to accept information and concepts that are compatible with their world view and reject those that are incompatible.

To illustrate this point, Mooney cited a significantly higher rate of rejection of climate change science among well-educated Republicans when compared to well-educated Democrats. The apparent reason had to do with underlying differences in world views: Many Republicans were concerned that acceptance of climate change science would result in new (cap and trade) taxes, which they vehemently opposed. It was this belief that influenced their perspective on the science, not the validity of the science itself.

AAAS concluded that scientists must not only do a better job of communicating the results of scientific research, but also must strive to understand how underlying differences in world views impact acceptance or rejection of that science. As Mooney put it, scientists have to do more than just "lay out the facts" or "set the record straight." Rather, it is "critical that experts and policymakers better understand what motivates public concern in the first place."

In the case of feral cats, animal rights and cat advocates are motivated by a world view that focuses on protecting the welfare and "rights" of individual cats, not on protecting populations, species, or ecosystems. From that perspective, it is clear why they would reject any science—no matter how valid—that may result in harm to individual cats, and it's unlikely that education will alter their position.

 Wildlife professionals concerned about this issue may therefore need to shift their message by emphasizing that feral and outdoor cats are much more likely to live miserable lives and/or die prematurely through collisions with vehicles, disease, coyote predation, and other causes. This educational message about cat welfare—combined with the message that cats are causing native wild birds and other small animals to suffer and die—may resonate with people who care about their pets and also care about wildlife.

 Perhaps by using this approach we will eventually gain a rejection of ineffective TNR (trap-neuter-release) management and support of new municipal regulations aimed at keeping cats indoors. On the other hand, if compromise is not possible, wildlife proponents may have to use existing legal frameworks—such as the Endangered Species Act and Migratory Bird Protection Act—to demand greater protection for native wildlife from the onslaught of feral cats and other non-native species.
In this and many other cases, TWS and other professional societies need to do a better job of understanding the human dimensions of wildlife management, which means studying the underlying reasons why certain individuals or groups are likely to reject a scientific approach based on differing world views.

There are tools available to help. The Human-Wildlife Conflict Collaborative, for example, of which TWS is a partner, offers an excellent interactive workshop that helps wildlife professionals identify and react to deep-seated beliefs that can ultimately influence the success of management and conservation. The Society has also published a textbook on the human dimensions of wildlife management (Decker et al. 2001) that is used in college classes.
By understanding why people reject science, wildlife professionals will be better able to promote workable compromises to diffuse conflict and develop effective strategies to sustainably manage wildlife and conserve habitats. Ultimately, however, the bottom line for any strategy must be that it is proven to be truly effective in protecting native wildlife and their habitats.

"A land ethic, then, reflects the existence of an ecological conscience, and this in turn reflects a conviction of individual responsibility for the health of the land. Health is the capacity of the land for self-renewal. Conservation is our effort to fulfill that vision"--Aldo Leopold................I feel that Leopold's statement is spot on as it relates to NEW YORK STATE'S barbaric Coyote killing contest scheduled right in the midst of the coyote mating season(FEB)...............As mentioned in one of yesterdays Postings on these rattlesnake roundups/Coyote culls.................Michael Vick was sent to prison for arranging dog fights......................perhaps the entire State of New York's Dept of Conservation should be shackled and chained for allowing the slaughter of what Massachusetts Biologist JON WAY(friend of this blog) calls our Eastern Coywolf...............up to 25% Eastern wolf DNA in our NorthEastern Coyotes.................I 2nd Jon's call for a National Wild Canine Protection act to be initiated to protect our top trophic social predators...............Special thanks to Frank Vincenti of Wild Dog Foundation and Anne at Wildwatch for bringing this important issue to everyones attention.............Incoming Govenor Cuomo is on the record as someone concerned for our environment..............Let him put those words into action in protecting our Eastern Coyote(Coywolf) and one day(if not already here)...........the Eastern Wolf

 Sullivan county, NY coyote hunting contest

The Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs of Sullivan County, Inc. is sponsoring the 3rd Annual Coyote Hunt in White Sulphur Springs, New York. Feb 19-21, 2010
There is a $30 entry fee
Only coyotes taking the State of New York on the three days of the hunt may be entered. Coyotes may be taken by hunting only, no trapped or cable-restrained coyotes will be allowed. hunting with the use of dogs is permitted. NYSDEC hunting regulations must be strictly adhered to. All coyotes must be taken by fair chase/stalk methods. All coyotes must be brought in on the day of the kill for weigh-in. If taken in the weigh-in hours keep the coyote warm.
 NOTE: All coyotes will be body temperature tested. In case of a tie, the first coyote weighed-in will win.
Weigh-in will be held at the Warren Krum residence on Heinle Road in White Sulphur Springs, NY (1 mile on Shore Road off Rte 52 to the 5-point corner then onto Heinle Road)(Phone # 845-292-4807 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              845-292-4807      end_of_the_skype_highlighting) form 11:00 AM to 8:00 PM on Friday and Saturday. 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM on Sunday. THE WEIGH-IN ENDS AT 2:00 PM SHARP ON SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 21.
 A roast beef dinner is included with the entry fee for all entrants on Sunday from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM at the White Sulphur Springs Firehouse on Rte 52. A free 3 gun $5 raffle ticket will be given to all the entrants. The winner will be announced after the final weigh-in results have been tabulated at approximately 3:00 PM at the firehouse.
For information please feel free to call either Edna @ 845-932-8929 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              845-932-8929      end_of_the_skype_highlighting or Jack @ 570-798-2998 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              570-798-2998      end_of_the_skype_highlighting or Warren @ 845-292-4807 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              845-292-4807      end_of_the_skype_highlighting.

Oh yeah...prizes...
$100 for each coyote brought in.
$200 for the heaviest of the day
$2500 grand prize for the biggest yote overall.

From: Wild Dog Foundation <>
Subject: Wolf and coyote advocacy
Date: Wednesday, December 29, 2010, 11:55 AM

To whom it may concern,
my name is Frank Vincenti, Director of a small wild canid advocacy group here in New York for wolves, coyotes, wild dogs ect,called the Wild Dog Foundation ( It has been proven genetically that our Eastern coyote is in fact a hybrid between the extirpated small Eastern wolf and western coyotes.

Upon endorsing your effort and recommendation for restoration of wolves in all N. American ecosystems, we feel it should be extended to all wolf-like canids ( whether hybrids or even coyotes who are after all wolves on a smaller scale).
Wolf groups make a deadly mistake by only endorsing the top-down effect by saying , well wolves control coyotes, well what is said when the enemies of the wolf say that wolves are out of balance and need control as has been proposed by those in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming.
This is why we feel there should be a carnivore-wide innitiative especially for canid predators. Already the hostility towards coyotes or more appropriatley coywolves (as coined by colleagues of mine and myself, (Dr. Jon Way,2007, Hope Ryden,1970's) is taking a toll on wolves returning to our region ( as said by Maine Wolf Coalition and Northeast Ecological Recovery Society).
I was sent a photo from an increasingly popular coyote killing contest here in New York State of a supposed 70lbs. coyote , well that is no coyote , it is an Eastern wolf.
Eastern wolves and coyotes have been shown to form mixed packs as seen in and around Algonquin Park and the Red wolf recovery in North Carolina, we feel this is not a bad thing but a recovery of wolf-like canids and should be allowed to happen.
It is my hope, as I am trying to do my part along with my colleagues doing theirs, that a large influential group such as yours would help us in this effort and we can support Dr. Jon Way's suggestion for a Wild Canid Protection act, one already endorsed by some eastern wolf groups here as well as my own.
Thank you.
Frank Vincenti, Director
Wild Dog Foundation

63 pure American Bison from Yellowstone were headed for Ted Turner's Montana Ranch..........Now they are caught in a litigation squabble with Conservation Groups who do not want Bison population expansion to be privatized...............They want the Federal Government to be the "Corporation" to manage genetically pure Bison and their range expansion outside Yellowstone...............What really irks me here is that the Indian tribes and Conservation Groups were not prepared a few years back to accept these Animals and Ted Turner was................True, that Ted would make a profit on this venture and get to harvest a % of the calves born to the herd.............but still, he was ready to get the Bison expansion program started and now that the Indian tribes are ready to take the animals, the Conservation Groups are in the Courts hammering away at Turner..........while the animals sit in Yellowstone in a "frozen state"...............In my opinion, the Buffalo should have been permitted to go to Turner......................and then the next surplus animals out of Yellowstone could have gone to the Tribes.....................This blog seeks rewilding.................whether that be private or publicly funded,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,as Clark Gable said in the movie "Gone With the Wind"....."Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn"!


Tribes Offering Home to Disease-Free Yellowstone Bison Deserve an Answer Guest Writer Travel & Outdoors NewWest.Net

Your humble Blog Publisher receiving a very nice compliment...............The pleasure is mine to be able to research and opine on all things pertinent to our Wild America.............Thanks to all of you who come to the site.....A Happy New Year to you and family

Randal MassaroDecember 29, 2010

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Rattlesnake roundups, Coyote Cull Contests and the like are truly symptoms of the egotism of man gone awry...................How do we sit in Church, Synagogue and Mosque and discuss peace on earth during this holiday season when we are so quick to destroy natures(Gods) creation wantonly and with apparent glee? I urge clergy to focus on this theme week in and week out until even the most callous of us grow a conscience on the right for all life forms to seek "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness".............And yes, I would like to think that if Thomas Jefferson were alive today, this most brilliant of our Founding Fathers would agree that this evolutionary phrase in the Declaration of Independence should indeed apply to our native plants and animals found around the world

Let's not glorify killing coyotes

Osgoode's "Great Coyote Cull Contest" demonstrates that humanity has failed to morally evolve over the past century when bounties were placed on wolves, cougars and other large predators.
Any attempt to stigmatize "problem" wildlife by rural municipalities is quickly capitalized by unethical hunters and gun lobby advocates, to wantonly kill wildlife without any intent to use the carcasses.
Coyotes are labelled a threat when we project our own fears on these otherwise intelligent animals. The burgeoning deer population has produced an increase in coyote pup survival. It's nature's regulatory mechanism to keep these ungulates under control. But trigger-happy terminators ignore the ecological contribution of coyotes which also reduce rodent populations saving farmers thousands of dollars annually in lost feed. How would society respond if domestic dogs -- that kill and injure hundreds of people each year -- were run down and slaughtered in competitions sanctioned by local governments and fish and game associations? When wildlife is treated like a commodity, it is subject to abuse. We have learned that bounties contributed to the extirpation of the eastern cougar, wolverine, and red wolf.
Glorifying these competitions nurtures the most base instincts of humanity and is an insult to both our culture and the fraternity of ethical hunters.
Ian Hugget,

Our good friend Cristina Eisenberg blogging on the Island Press Site about the Society for Ecological Restoration/Wildlands Network pow wow which focused on large scale connective wildways that would allow for predator and prey movement across the Continent..........This is the central theme of this blog and I applaud Cristina, Conrad Reining(another good friend) and all of the dedicated biologists and outdoor Professionals who focus tirelessly on this National Security issue day in and day out............Yes, as i have recently stated in other Postings, enhnancing biological diversity is as important as defending our great USA from terrorists..............this is our nest,,,,,,,,,,,,,,all the business and money making in the world means nothing if our Country and the rest of the Planet winnows down the genetic stockpile of organisms to only the creatures and plants that can live in our neighborhoods...................we have to do better than that and recognize that even the animals, insects, plants and other life forms that we find hideous or frightening or iconvenient to coexist with are necessary not only for their right to exist for their own sake........... but also for the potential that they may hold for future generations of humans as it relates to these living beings being the seedbed of new medicines, building materials and foodstuffs...........If the average person in the street can only connect with wildlife and native plants through the their ability to help mankind, then let us take that argument and sell it hard to the 7 billion of us who exist on this Planet.....................that is my New Years resolution I pray for as we walk into 2011

Large Carnivores and Continental Conservation

by Cristina Eisenberg
It's not exactly safe to be a wolf in Colorado. If you cross paths with the wrong human, you could end up dead. Indeed, for one year those of us working on the High Lonesome Ranch, a privately-owned, mixed-use property managed for conservation, referred to these peripatetic members of the dog family, who were naturally returning to this landscape after being extirpated 80 years earlier, as "visitors from the north." That phrase was our code to protect the wolves.
In November 2010, the Society for Ecological Restoration (SER) and conservation organization Wildlands Network (WN) convened what amounted to a small village of scientists, managers, and conservation leaders on the High Lonesome Ranch in DeBeque, Colorado, to exchange ideas about reconnecting and rewilding fragmented landscapes and to explore the vital importance of private lands in these efforts.
The principal ranch owner, Paul Vahldiek, Jr., hopes that his management of High Lonesome will serve as a land ethic blueprint for private lands. Vahldiek is using his ranch to demonstrate how reframing our human relationship to nature. The High Lonesome Ranch comprises a sublime, 300-square-mile hunk of north-central Colorado on the west slope of the Rocky Mountains. Its rugged, aspen-crowned mountains and deep river valleys hold healthy deer and elk herds and provide a haven for cougars, black bears, coyotes, and more. Threatened and endangered species returning here include wolf, wolverine, and lynx.
Why is this land such a carnivore magnet? Perhaps because it lies squarely in the center of the Spine of the Continent—a 5,000 mile-long wildlife corridor that extends from Alaska to Mexico along the Rockies. Or maybe because this ranch the size of a large national park gets far less human use than most parks.
Why focus on private lands? Because national parks and other reserves are mere postage stamps in a matrix of mixed-ownership lands subject to hunting, ranching, timber harvest, and energy development. Thus, private land conservation can do much to help mend fragmented landscapes.
And why a continental scale? Because critical corridors, such as the Spine of the Continent, will enable nature to continue to function well by helping restore species, such as wolves, that have a powerful effect on whole ecosystems. They also provide pathways for animals and plants to shift to higher elevations as our climate changes.
Keith Bowers, WN president, opened the workshop by voicing the need to place ecological restoration within the context of permeable, large landscapes to ensure the wellbeing of animals like wolves, cougars, lynx, and wolverines that travel far.

But according to workshop organizers Conrad Reining of WN and Bill Havorson of SER, we can't achieve continental-scale conservation without addressing local problems, like the invasion of a non-native plant species into a town park. They proposed creating a primer to guide conservation on both local and landscape scales and inform policies that can lead to international restoration.
Landscape ecologists David Theobald and Pete David presented compelling models of wildlife-linkage hotspots, like southern Arizona, where young male cougars dispersing near human communities often meet death on busy highways. Yellowstone-to-Yukon (Y2Y)'s Wendy Francis shared how wildlife overpasses and underpasses in Banff National Park are enabling grizzly bears to survive heavy traffic. These safe crossings provide graphic examples of how local-scale efforts embedded strategically amid vast wildlife corridors, such as the Spine of the Continent, can lead to continental-scale conservation.
The SER/WN continental conservation workshop on the High Lonesome Ranch provided a wellspring of ideas for healing small and big landscapes. As we work individually to restore nature, we will turn these ideas into reality supported by the vibrant network of people the workshop created.

The artricle that Frank Carbone had sent me a couple weeks back about the 104 pound canid that a forensics lab had identified as a coyote is being questioned by many...................see the pic below...............Missouri Coyotes are Western Coyotes(C.latrans) and weigh in 20-35 pounds...................this 104 pound "monster" is a wolf if there ever was one................I wish the hunters had not bagged this guy.................but obviously a "frontiersman" wolf wandering out of Minn/Wisconsin/Michigan and seeking new territory...............your thoughts??????

Missouri wolf or coyote, take two

Several days ago I blogged that the Missouri Department of Conservation had announced an animal shot by a hunter in November was a coyote and not a wolf has had been believed. DNA evidence was credited for the identification.
Missouri wildlife officials said DNA evidence shows this animal shot during their recent deer season is a just a large coyotes.
Missouri wildlife officials said DNA evidence shows this animal shot during their recent deer season is a just a large coyotes.

Several readers, though, say there's no way an animal that reportedly weighed 104 pounds can be a pure coyote.

They have a point. Take a look at the photo.
I've seen a lot of coyotes but none that were half the size of the animal in the photos sent to me by a mutual friend of the deer hunter who pulled the trigger.
(At the time, he thought he was shooting a coyote. He called a local game warden as soon as he  saw the animal's size and appearance.)

Does that look like a coyote to you? Me neither.

A little research shows it could be a wild wolf with some coyote DNA in its gene pool.--most of the Eastern Wolves in the Great Lakes States(C.lupus x lycaon) show some coyote genes..........a canid soup with more northern and western gray wolves(C.lupus) mixing with C.lupus x lycaon) which in turn has has hybridization turns with C.latrans and C.lycaon x latrans(Western coyotes and Eastern coyotes)...........confused, so what?  enjoy the ever changing wolf/coyote evolution going on in our midst--blogger Rick 
Wolf, coyote or hybrid? It's a rare and huge midwestern coyote that makes it to 50 pounds. This animal was more than twice that size.
Wolf, coyote or hybrid? It's a rare and huge midwestern coyote that makes it to 50 pounds. This animal was more than twice that size.

It's possible the animal is any sort of mixture of a wolf, coyote, domestic dog hybrid.
None of the above would be out of the question.

Pure wolves have wandered as far south as Missouri from packs around the Great Lakes.
Wolf/dog hybrids are sold as pets.

But sorry, MDOC, I'm not buying that it is just an abnormally large coyote based on the photos.


Monday, December 27, 2010

29 Cougar kittens born in Florida this past year................As we saw in an earlier post this week, 23 Cougars died in Florida this year(16 from car collisions)......................Seems like Florida is just about out of the necessary additional open space needed for Cougar expansion........... it is time to begin to release some of the Florida Cats into neighboring open spaces in the Gulf Coast, and surrounding Old Confederacy States.................and from there up into the Middle Atlantic and New England States.....................

Scientists: 29 Fla. panther kittens born in 2010

NAPLES, Fla. -- State wildlife officials say there were 29 documented Florida panther kittens born in 2010, and another 30 to 40 likely were born to unmonitored panthers.
That compares to just 11 documented kittens born in 2009.
The numbers may indicate a big leap in panther population growth - especially compared to 23 documented panther deaths this year - but not all of the kittens survive.
Scientists believe less than 120 Florida panthers remain in the wild, though they are running out of habitat. Only 24 of those big cats have radio collars. Of those two dozen, 11 of those are females that had litters this year.

Like the potential Wolverine re-introduction in Colorado, Alaska now seeks to prevent Critical Habitat Designation for Polar Bears from being designated.........Sometimes I feel that we are back in 1850...................that we have not learned anything about the long-term benefits of optimizing biodiversity in every State in the USA................Republicans shouting that jobs and livelihoods will be lost..................where are the Teddy Roosevelt Republicans...........those that champion fiscal responsiblity while simultaneously seeking broad and lasting protections for our Wild animal cousins?

Alaska Sues Government over Polar Bear Protection

Posted by Erin

The state of Alaska filed notice on Tuesday stating their intent to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over protections recently put in place to help polar bears faced with the effects of climate change. Republican Governor Sean Parnell argues that the critical habitat designation that was announced by the Obama Administration last month will delay jobs and increase costs. Parnell stated that the designation could kill resource development projects important to Alaskans. "Once again, we are faced with federal overreach that threatens our collective prosperity," Parnell stated. "We don't intend to let this stand.

" Designation of a critical habitat does not necessarily block economic activity or other development, but requires federal officials to consider whether a proposed action would adversely affect the polar bear's habitat and interfere with its recovery. Almost 95 percent of the designated habitat, which covers 187,000 square miles, is sea ice in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas off Alaska's northern coast. Polar bears spend most of their lives on frozen ocean where they hunt seal, breed and travel.Tom Strickland, assistant secretary for fish, wildlife and parks at the Interior Department, said the designation would help polar bears stave off extinction, recognizing that the greatest threat is the melting of Arctic sea ice caused by climate change. "This critical habitat designation enables us to work with federal partners to ensure their actions within its boundaries do not harm polar bear populations," Strickland said. "We will continue to work toward comprehensive strategies for the long-term survival of this iconic species."

Parnell contends that the critical habitat designation in the oil-rich Arctic could result in hundreds of millions of dollars lost in economic activity and tax revenue for the state. Alaskan officials and the state's oil and gas industry maintain that polar bears do not need the additional protection. "Already, there are state laws, international agreements, and the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act to protect polar bears," Parnell said on Tuesday. "The polar bear is one of the most protected species in the world."

Despite Parnell's claim of the polar bear being protected, the species is still shrinking. Due to global warming and loss of habitat, it is estimated that only 20-25,000 polar bears live in the wild. Brendan Cummings, attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity, says that the threat of lawsuit over polar bear protection is not a surprise. "They have opposed every Endangered Species Act listing to date," Cummings said. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service does not comment on pending litigation. The state put the federal agency on 60-days notice that it intends to sue unless the critical habitat designation is withdrawn or corrected.

Oregon Fish & Wildlife providing some broad, general descriptives regarding the re-populating Wolf populating in the State..............up to 30 Wolves now inhabit Oregon................get ready for the potential rollercoaster ride that seems to accompany wolf re-colonization in the Western USA................My hope is that it plays out more similarly to how Wisconsin and Michigan responded to Wolf immigration from Minnesota..............minor farmer attempt at co-existance.

Biologist sheds light on wolf behavior

Wolves are not bloodless killers, but they can appear to be.
LA GRANDE, Ore. (AP) — Wolves are not bloodless killers, but they can appear to be.
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist Russ Morgan explained why and much more during a recent presentation about wolves at a meeting of the Union/Wallowa county chapter of the Oregon Hunters Association.
Morgan, the ODFW's wolf program coordinator, pointed out that wolf kills can appear perplexing because often they barely have a scratch. The reason is wolves kill with multiple bites that often do not break an animal's skin. The bites trigger massive internal bleeding."Multiple-bite trauma causes hemorrhaging (internal bleeding) and bruising," Morgan said.The hemorrhaging and bruising is apparent when the animal is cut open. This is why when animals suspected of being killed by wolves are examined it is important to conduct an internal examine similar to an autopsy, Morgan said. Such examines help confirm that a wolf killed the animal.
The walking stride of wolves also deceives. The back feet of wolves often step right into the tracks of their front feet. The gait makes their tracks appear they are those of a two-legged animal, Morgan said. The biologist said he knows of no dogs that walk in such a manner.
The Observer reports that wolves began arriving in Northeast Oregon from Idaho in 1999. Presently there are between 22 and 30 wolves in Northeast Oregon 16 in an Imnaha area pack, six in a Wenaha area pack, at least two between La Grande and Baker City and several north of the Wenaha area.
The low total number of wolves means the odds of seeing one in Northeast Oregon are remote, but the likelihood of spotting evidence of the legendary predator is better."Your chances of spotting wolf tracks are 90 percent greater than seeing wolves," Morgan said.
Many people report they confuse wolf tracks with coyote tracks. This should not be a problem since wolf tracks are twice the size of a coyote's, Morgan said.
The Imnaha pack is being monitored by ODFW biologists with the aid of radio collars attached to three of its members. The importance of radio collars should not be underestimated, Morgan said.
"No matter what you think of wolves, these radio collars are valuable," Morgan said. "Without them we would not know nearly as much."
Everyone, including people who object to the presence of wolves, should embrace the collars because they help biologist determine what wolves are killing and if conservation goals are being met, Morgan said.
"One goal of the ODFW is to de-list wolves (from the state endangered species protected list)," Morgan said.
Maintaining radio collars on wolves is difficult because the animals are exceptionally hard on them. Wolves chew collars and damage them in the process of killing prey, Morgan said.
Wolves first entered Oregon from Idaho in 1999. Since then they have killed livestock and will continue to do so, Morgan said. The ODFW has received no reports of wolves attacking people since then and Morgan believes it is extremely unlikely it ever will. Morgan said that over the past 100 years there have been only two documented human deaths from wolf attacks in North America.
"You can't say this about almost any other large animal including deer, bears and cougars," Morgan said. "We have to get over the Red Riding Hood syndrome."Morgan emphasized that while the incidence of attacks by healthy wolves is extremely low, this does not mean that there could not be one.The biologist was asked Monday if people should be concerned when they encounter a wolf barking at them. The answer is no."Repetitive wolf barking is a territorial behavior. There is no evidence that barking or howling is a threatening behavior," Morgan said.
Determining if a wolf is preparing to attack a person is difficult if not impossible"There is no way to tell if wolves are aggressive because conflict with humans is so rare," Morgan said.Wolves almost always leave in the presence of a person. Should a wolf not leave, this would be a reason for concern, the biologist said.
Morgan noted that wolves are not ambush hunters. Instead they usually follow their prey for long periods of time before attacking.Elk hunters should not be alarmed by the presence of wolves in Northeast Oregon, Morgan said. Studies indicate that the introduction of wolves in Idaho and Wyoming have not hurt overall elk hunting success.
Wolves were reintroduced to Idaho, Wyoming and Montana in 1995 and 1996. Since then wolf numbers have increased significantly. Elk populations and hunter success in the three states has remained stable or increased.
Still, in some areas within these states, elk populations have fallen after wolves were introduced. These include Yellowstone National Park. Morgan said that properly managing localized impacts of wolves on elk will be important as Oregon's wolf population increases.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Capt. John Smith's first hand account from his Jamestown, Virginia experience on the wildlife of Virginia circa 1608--note the Old english spelling has not been tampered with,,,,,,decipher accordingly and visualize the variety of predator and prey that existed up and down the Eastern Seaboard at the dawn of European colonization.................Remember that there had been a 100 years of previous European impact on North America through the various Expedtions(Cartier, De Soto, Champlaign, etc, etc, etc)...........which resulted in as much as 90% decimation of Indian populations................perhaps allowing for the re-population and expansion of our wildlife(many historians surmise that Indian populations had grown to "adverse impact" levels by 1500 AD......resulting in extirpation of Wild America).................Wildlife resurgance as human populations plummeted due to European generated small pox, yellow fever, flu, cholera and the like

Capt. John Smith's Map of Virginia: With a Description of the
Countrey, the Commodities, People,
Government and Religion (1612)
 "Of beastes the chief are Deare, nothing differing from ours.
In the deserts towards the heads of the rivers, ther are many,
but amongst the rivers few.
There is a beast they call Arough-cun, much like a badger, but useth to live on trees as Squir-rels doe(fishers and pine marten probably)

 Their Squirrels some are neare as greate as our small-
est sort of wilde rabbits; some blackish or blacke and white,
but the most are gray.

Their Beares are very little in comparison of those of
Muscovia and Tartaria.
 The Beaver is as bigge as an ordinary
water dogge, but his legges exceeding short. His fore feete
like a dogs, his hinder feet like a Swans. His taile somewhat
like the forme of a Racket bare without haire; which to eate,
the Savages esteeme a great delicate.
 They have many Otters,which, as the Beavers, they take with snares, and esteeme the
skinnes great ornaments; and of all those beasts they use to
feede, when they catch them.
There is also a beast they call Vetchunquoyes in the forme of
a wilde Cat.(Cougars, bobcats) 
Their Foxes are like our silver haired Conies,
of a small proportion, and not smelling like those in England.

Their Dogges of that country are like their Wolves, and cannot
barke but howle; and their wolves not much bigger then our
English Foxes.
 Martins, Powlecats, weessels and Minkes we
know they have, because we have seen many of their skinnes,
though very seldome any of them alive. But one thing is
strange, that we could never perceive their vermine destroy
our hennes, egges, nor chickens, nor do any hurt: nor their
flyes nor serpents anie waie pernitious; where1 in the South
parts of America, they are alwaies dangerous and often

 Of birds, the Eagle is the greatest devourer. Hawkesthere be of diverse sorts as our Falconers called them, Sparow-
hawkes, Lanarets, Goshawkes, Falcons and Osperayes; but
they all pray most upon fish. Pattridges there are little bigger
then our Quailes, wilde Turkies are as bigge as our tame. There
are woosels or blackbirds with red shoulders, thrushes, and
diverse sorts of small birds, some red, some blew, scarce so
bigge as a wrenne, but few in Sommer. In winter there are
great plenty of Swans, Craynes gray and white with blacke
wings, Herons, Geese, Brants, Ducke, Wigeon, Dotterell,
Oxeies, Parrats, and Pigeons
. Of all those sorts great abun-
dance, and some other strange kinds, to us unknowne by name.
But in sommer not any, or a very few to be seene.
 Of fish we were best acquainted with Sturgeon, Grampus,
Porpus, Seales, Stingraies
whose tailes are very dangerous,
Brettes, mullets, white Salmonds, Trowts, Soles, Plaice, Her-
rings, Conyfish, Rockfish, Eeles, Lampreyes, Catfish, Shades,
Pearch of 3 sorts, Crabs, Shrimps, Crevises, Oysters, Codes,
and Muscles.
But the most strange fish is a smal one so like
the picture of S. George his Dragon, as possible can be, except
his legs and wings: and the Todefish which will swell till it
be like to brust, when it commeth into the aire.

    A small beast they have, they call Assapanick, but we
call them flying squirrels, because spreading their legs, and so
stretching the largenesse of their skins that they have bin
seene to fly 30 or 40 yards.
 An Opassom hath an head like
a Swine, and a taile like a Rat, and is of the bignes of a Cat.
Under her belly shee hath a bagge, wherein shee lodgeth,
carrieth, and sucketh her young. Mussascus 4 is a beast of the
forme and nature of our water Rats, but many of them smell
exceeding strongly of muske.
Their Hares no bigger then our
Conies, and few of them to be found.


By:Valerius Geist

The effects of thousands of impoverished trappers and wolf bounties in northern Alberta early in the 20the century on predators, and its relation to the myth of the harmless wolf.

Dear Colleagues,

I am – again – the bearer of bad tidings, and I can assure you that I do not want to be that.

I have been digging into historical literature in my quest to understand why in North America the myth of the "harmless wolf" took such a such a severe hold, to the point of perverting scholarship and quite probably leading to the death of some believers. The conventional view of the harmless wolf, which I also believed in throughout my academic career and four years into retirement, is in sharp contrast to experiences elsewhere. Yet, it certainly coincided with my personal experience pre-1999 when a misbehaving pack of wolves settled about our and our neighbor's properties at the edge of a farming district in central Vancouver Island.  I subsequently discovered that the wolves were much the same in their behavior, whatever their origins, but that circumstances lead to vastly different outcomes. In general, the evidence indicates that wolves are very careful to choose the most nutritious food source easiest obtained without danger. They tackle dangerous prey only when they run out of non dangerous prey, and they shift to new prey only very gradually, following a long period of gradual exploration. Wolves are very sensitive to strangeness, including a potential prey species strange to them. Garbage is the easiest and safest food source for wolves, and they do take advantage of such. Once they are habituated to people due to their proximity, they may begin to investigate people. The ultimate exploration of a strange prey by a carnivore is to attack such. Consequently, the danger from habituated wolves. However, they need not have garbage, just a shortage of prey to begin investigating and eventually attacking humans. This means that as long as wolves have sufficient natural prey, they leave livestock alone. As long as they have livestock, they leave humans alone. When short of natural prey and livestock they turn their attention to humans and their habitations and may even break into such to extract cattle, horses, pigs, sheep or poultry. Dogs and cats are attacked before that. We humans are next in line, primarily children. But even then the initial attacks are exploratory in nature and clumsy, allowing some victims to escape. However, this scenario is of exceptional scarcity in North America, though it is practiced occasionally by coyotes targeting children in urban parks.--agreed with Val that carnivores can become habituated to humans through out livestock and garbage practices and can ultimately begin to target us as prey in certain cases.............that is why so important to practice best husbandry and garbage disposal practices and take the proper precautions with our pets--blogger Rick 

The discrepancy, however, between global and conventional American experiences with wolves is crass. Wolves have killed thousands upon thousands of people as chronicled by European and Asian sources, yet in North America fatal attacks are few and disputed. The differences are real. What then was going on in the past century in North America to make wolves so harmless? I felt I had obtained part of the answer that showed that wolves are wolves wherever they occur, but that circumstances can generate very different outcomes in wolf behavior.--as you dig int the historical first hand diaries of 17th, 18th and 19th century American Explorers and Frontiersmen, there are accounts of wolves attacking people...............again, horses, dogs, campfire food practices tend to be the magnet...............and the wolves can eventually decide to target people....................however, many more accounts of people hearing the wolves............even seeing them,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,but the wolves scooting at the first sign of human purturbance and/or investigation--blogger Rick 

I continued digging.

In a teleconference with a committee of the Montana legislature on or about April 27th  I suggested that in Canada trapping and official wolf control via hired predator control officers was likely a good part of the answer. I ran subsequently into most unlikely sources, plus follow-ups. These are the memoirs of two German authors, the first is the two volume work of Max Hinsche (1935) Kanada wirklich erlebt (Canada really experienced) and Reinhold Eben Ebnau (1953) Goldgelbeds Herbstlaub (Golden yellow fall leaves). In addition I examined C. Gorden Hewit's (1921) The Conservation of the Wildlife of Canada, and followed up with some reading by a like-minded and qualified author on Russian and Siberian conditions Egon Freiherr von Kapherr (1941) Wo es trommelt und röhrt (Where [wildlife] drums and roars).

Max Hinsche arrived in Canada in 1926 and became trapper and collector of wildlife. He was a taxidermist by trade. He spent eight years on the Athabaska River in Northern Alberta, but traveled for a year in the then unexplored Yukon before retuning to Germany in 1935. He wrote his memoirs in two volumes, and died shortly thereafter. He arrived virtually destitute in Canada, and rumor has it he fled the law. When he returned with a significant collection for the Dresden Natural History Museum, somehow, all was forgiven, and his books made him for a short time a hero. Hinsche is an excellent, vivid writer, and a close, careful, objective observer. His is far and beyond the best account of how trappers lived in Northern Alberta 1926-1935. He illustrates a community of desperately poor, hard struggling men who at great danger to themselves trapped for a meager grubstake in winter. In summer they were employed as laborers, which earned them just enough to go once again trapping. Most held down a trap line alone, some lived in pairs, however, all were united in a web of mutual support and code of conduct. It is evident that there were many such poor trappers as Hinsche met them on the Athabaska going to and fro to his trap lines. After a first dreadful year in which Hinsche and a companion of his almost starved to death, Hinsche set up a routine that made him reasonably successful and allowed him some museum collecting. He was out virtually day and night and experienced especially Canadian winter conditions in their full severity.

What was Hinsche's views on wildlife and wolves? When he came in 1926 moose were scarce, but increased and were abundant when he left in 1935. Mule deer were abundant throughout. Wolves were present, but not common and Hinsche in eight years had only one serious run-in with a wolf pack. However, that run in, described in exquisite detail, is classic. A pack confronted him as he trespassed into an area where they had killed three moose and three deer. Hinsche pointing out that he had only four shells in his rifle, backed out without shooting and reached his cabin safely. (A Saskatchewan fried of mine did exactly the same thing opposing seven very pushy wolves with five cartridges in his rifle's magazine and chamber). Hinsche counted 18 wolf beds in the snow the following day.--the wolves were defending their kill--aggressive posturing as any animal including man would put forth to defend a cache--blogger Rick

Hinsche of course trapped a few wolves along with other fur-bearers. His significance resides in his detailed account of the attitude of trappers towards wolves due to the problems wolves cause them.  He points out that when wolves arrive in a trappers area,  they first of all spook off the big game which the trappers rely on for food. These desperately poor men and their few dogs relied almost entirely on big game for food to come through the long winter, and when wolves emptied the land of moose and deer the trappers could be in serious difficulty. As we learn later in detail from Eben-Ebenau, keeping meat safe for personal use was not easy, as some bears managed to get at cached meat, which meant that the trapper had to disrupt trap line work and go hunting once again. Finding no wildlife to hunt was thus a very serious concern for a trapper. Secondly, wolves notoriously followed trappers, and destroyed the catch in the traps. This was a serious financial loss to already very poor men, especially if wolves destroyed a high value fur such as lynx, marten, mink or cross fox.  Thirdly, wolves could destroy sled dogs, another economic blow. (And I must add that there are also incidents of a wolf or more attacking a trapper and/or his sled dog team as told to me by native trappers, though neither Hinsche nor Eben-Ebenau mention such). Consequently, and understandably, trapper sought to rid themselves of wolves. Wolf fur was of no particular value. However, with a bounty added, there was incentive to  trap wolves. One advantage of the bounty system was that only the scalp had to be handed in to receive the money. Consequently, one only needed the scalp, and one could save oneself the trouble of skinning, preparing and transporting the bulky wolf fur. --one has to become a better hunter and trapper when faced with our wolf, cougar and bear fellow predators.............No one said that life is easy for the hunter, trapper of businessman..............and why would you want it easy anyway............anything worth accomplishing is worth a huge effort,,,,,,,,no easy path in life for any of us--blogger Rick

Hinsche makes a point that while poison on the trap line was outlawed in 1922, trappers continued to use it on wolves as they could - with some luck - eliminate a wolf pack in one setting, whereas with leg-hold traps they could only catch one or two wolves at best leaving the survivors to continue with their mischief.  Eben-Enenau makes much the same point, but with snares, which were also outlawed though the prohibition was largely ignored by trappers. A well-set series of snares could catch most of a pack, and kill the caught wolves quickly. Ebenau was a very skilled in setting snares for wolves, and caught or shot many more wolves than the average trapper.  Moreover, leg-hold traps large enough to securely hold a wolf had to be fairly large, heavy and bulky which would be added work for the already stressed out trapper. Traps were set along trap lines that were up to a hundred miles long and carrying traps such distances was hard work. Dog teams were not always at hand. After all, game had to be shot for the dogs, or fish caught and dried and transported to the distant line cabins.  And then there was the serious problem of bears breaking into trapper cabins and caches. There was thus incentive to not only remove wolves but bears as well. And that, we can safely expect had a positive impact on the survival of fawns and calves of deer, moose and woodland caribou.--while more hoofed creatures survived when predators poisoned and trapped,,,,the land itself was weakened and adversely impacted----As Leopoldstates: "Only the mountain knows the true effect of it's wolves being removed"--blogger Rick 

Eben-Ebenau, who came to Canada in 1929, and to north-western Alberta in 1931, describes matters up to 1951. He was a German blue blood, an educated man with an insatiable thirst for hunting. An excellent writer, he was a hard-nosed, very skeptical man who hunted down hard facts with determination. That's why he records not only the life of trappers quite similar to Hinsche, and social circumstances far superior to the latter, but of interest from current perspective is his accumulation of quantitative data about trappers, as well as his observations of the behavior of wolves. We therefor know how many trappers there were in northern Alberta, how may wolves they killed, how high was the bounty and how much was paid out. Next: Eben-Ebenau was so excellent an observer of wildlife, that I  made use of his observations in synthesizing the biology of moose in my books 1998 Deer of the World and 1999 Moose. Eben-Ebenau remained well connected to Germany as he provided a first rate exhibition of Canadian moose trophies to the 1937 hunting exhibition in Berlin. He maintained a close contact with the natural museum there, as well as famous German personalities, which he guided or hunted with in Canada.  I got to know Eben-Ebenau personally, exchanged correspondence and we visited each other. I was able to admire his 1937 collection, now displayed at his home at lesser Slave Lake, where he homesteaded. He became a well known guide and outfitter and was honored by the Province of Alberta for his conservation work. This all becomes significant in view of what Ebenau ultimately writes about wolves in northern Alberta.

Trapper income

Max Hinsche's (p.53) and partner's 1926/27 catch amounted to one wolf, and 131 ermines for an income of $74.05. In 1951, according to Eben-Ebenau (p.203), the average income of an Alberta trapper was $426. Eben-Ebenau (p. 197) also intoned that he never made more than $500 a winter. He could make twice that working as a carpenter. Clearly, the income from trapping was very low, even if the value of the dollar then was much greater than today. Hinsche's and his partner's 1926/27 expenses were not covered by the above return from trapping.

The bounty for wolves

The bounty for wolves (Ebenau p. 214) in 1935 was  $5.00 while a wolf pelt was worth $4.00.
In 1940 the bounty rose to $10.00. 1944 the bounty was still $10.00, but the wolf fur fetched $15.00.
In 1948 the bounty rose to $15.00, but the value of a wolf fur was only $4.00. It stays like that till 1952.

Clearly, the bounty adds considerably to the value of a dead wolf and is an incentive, especially since only the scalp needs to be surrendered. 

The magnitude of the wolf kill.

The registered wolf kill climbed form 165 in 1930, to 187 in 1935 when the first bounty is paid, but climbed to 1143 wolves in 1948 when the bounty reaches $15.00. The registered wolf kill drops to 829 in 1952. The rise and fall in wolf kills by trappers roughly parallels the pre-war increase and post-war decline in moose in northern Alberta.--once again, why more Moose as a positive??????????????regeneration of forest trees and shrubs halted........bird life and other mammals adversely effected due to removal of horizontal cover.............and perhaps making a living as a trapper just no longer made(or makes) sense financially--blogger Rick 

The number of trappers.

In 1944 there were 2668 registered trap lines, 1948 its 2839, 1950 its 2813, 1951 its 2797, in 1953 its 2654. However, there are in addition trappers licenses which are issued to homesteaders, farmers and ranchers. In 1951 there are 3127 such licenses, plus 2797 trap lines for a total of 5924 licensed trappers; the 1953 figures are similar. In addition to trappers, hunters, farmers, ranchers, game wardens as well as predator control officers also killed wolves.

The official kill of wolves is roughly one wolf caught by three trap-line owners per year. We do not know of course the total kill, including wolves not submitted for bounty payments.

Before proceeding, one must note that the apparent low wolf kill in the early 1930's takes place when wildlife is recovering from a low in earlier decades, so that trappers, concerned about their own food situation are all too eager to rid themselves of wolves. The low wolf kill thus reflects a low wolf population.

Now follow some very interesting observations by Eben-Ebenau. He points out that during the maxima of snowshoe rabbit abundance, when the countryside is saturated with rabbits (as I can attest to personally having witnessed the 1961/62 rabbit high in BC's Spazisi northern wilderness. William Rowan of the University of Alberta in Edmonton estimated some 32,000 hares per square mile; that's about 36 tons of rabbit biomass per square mile), wolves live to a large extent off rabbits. This is matched by other smaller carnivores. As rabbit abundance drops wolves switch increasingly to mule deer (as well as livestock, according to Alberta's game guardian since 1905 Mr. B. Lawton p. 109, Hewitt 1921), at the same time wolves avoid and ignore moose. Eben Ebenau observed packs of wolves hunting rabbit among moose while the latter keep on feeding and ignore wolves completely. Ebenau goes on to say that, in his very extensive travels he never found a moose killed by wolves. This happens in the western part of northern Alberta. Hinsche operated in the eastern-central parts. He did not see or kill many wolves, but did find a few moose kills and did find that moose avoid wolves. That matches with my observations in every region I worked in.--while a layman, the above runs counter to what Mech, John and Mary Theberge and virtually every wolf biologist that I have information from suggests about wolf diet(Moose, Elk, Deer, Buffalo, Pronghorns, Beaver being the foodstuffs of wolves---yea, a salmon where available,,,,,,,,,,,yea, a small mammal occasionally as a snack............even fruit,,,,,,,,,,but they do not stay alive on rabbits, the mainstay of coyotes and bobcats)--blogger Rick 

What arises is a picture of thousands of desperately poor men in Northern Alberta, hostile to wolves,   trapping for a meager living and eliminating wolves as much as possible, especially when they get paid a bounty and only need to bring in the scalp. The magnitude of the annual wolf kill is so high that wolves can survive on the massive abundance of rabbits, with a few deer thrown in, while avoiding moose.  Wolves were thus severely depleted in Alberta in an ongoing manner early in the 20th century, so much so, they avoided difficult and dangerous prey, left alone livestock, and avoided humans virtually completely. Since wolf packs favored deer, and a deer is quickly consumed, the packs did not  have much opportunity to confront humans over kills. 

The above suggests that the bounty paid on wolves, far from being ineffective, was very effective in lowering wolf numbers so that big game could built up. Moreover, it is only with current insights into wolf behavior that Eben-Ebenaus's observations on wolves and moose gain significance.

Moreover, with an army of desperately poor men extracting a living from the wilderness not only wolves were routinely depleted, but almost certainly, grizzly bears as well. Thousands of poor men trapping for fur  were thus exercising severe predator control. However, the myth of the "harmless wolves" is grounded in more than the reality generated by severe wolf control due to commercial trapping for fur by thousands of poverty stricken trappers that could ill  afford wolves close by. In addition there was systematic destruction of wolves by some native cultures in the far North, as wolves and dog teams and trapping were not compatible. In the south, meanwhile, there were predator control officers effectively eliminating wolves in farming districts. No wonder the remaining wolves were shy, weary, invisible and harmless leading to the false conclusion that this was their one and only nature, and that anything to the contrary was due to prejudice.--dead wolves do not pass on to offspring fear of poisons and rifles and traps----that is why making predators afraid(rather than killing them) is a more effective way to minimize conflicts with us--blogger Rick 

It's a shame that biologists, myself included, fell into that trap.


Valerius Geist
Professor Emeritus of Environmental Science
The University of Calgary

PS. The two additional books, which I did not incorporate in the above, remain nevertheless significant. C. Gordon Hewitt (1921) opens up his chapter 8, entitled "The Enemies of Wild Life and the Control of Predatory Animals" with the following words: "Any rational system of wild-life protection must take into account the control of predatory species of mammals and birds". Now, C. Gordon Hewitt is not just anybody. He is the father of the 1916 Migratory Bird Convention. He is one of the creators of the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation. He was a real mover and shaker not only in the Canadian Commission on Conservation (1911-1919), but also a close friend of like-minded US colleagues, such as Hornaday, Nelson, Stone, Roosevelt etc. Hewitt goes on to show the kind of problems that wolf, coyote and mountain lion predation caused to the livestock industry. The impact was ruinous and triggered very determined measures to keep predators in check. We thus get an inkling of the predation problems ranchers faces and why they were so determined to, among others, eliminate wolves. It gives a pretty good idea what ranchers have to look forward to in the west in years to come.

The book by Egon Freiherr von Kapherr about Russian and Siberian conditions as experienced, on the ground, by a very determined, passionate hunter, naturalist as well as an administrator of districts under the regime of the Zar, beginning at the turn of the century and lasting into post-revolutionary times, is also an eyeopener. Like Hewitt, so Kapherr is not just anybody. He was born a Baron, of the lesser Latvian nobility. He was a highly educated man, with a great passion for natural history. He corresponded with Teddy Roosevelt. He traveled in the horse and buggy, steamship and rail days widely in Russia, and he took every opportunity to hunt. Much of this took place in winter as such was no deterrent to this man. And he acted as an administrator who visited villages, despite incredible road and travel conditions, or villagers came to him with their woes. He thus had an excellent oversight. In addition to his memoirs of hunting he left behind a popular history of the conquest of Siberia (Mit Kreuz und Knute). There are certain parallels between Russia/Siberia and early Canada. Fur is highly prized in Russia, and trapping is thus ongoing and severe. The trappers and hunters are not rich, and depend on the forests and streams to make a living. These men are very skillful, and may be employed by those who can afford them – as Kapherr could – as assistants to hunting. Kapherr has a good many encounters with large bears that prey on livestock, which he is petitioned by villagers to destroy. Here is a remarkable parallel with Eben-Ebenaus expediences hunting large grizzly bears in the Swan Hills in Alberta. We are dealing with brown bears in both cases. Wolves however, are mostly non existing. Oh yes, there is here and there the howl of the wolf. Also, in sever winters wolves may come from the east into the districts administered by Kapherr. He does loos a prized dog to wolves while the dog pack is hinting the white tundra hare. Once, while he is spending a night in a village, a wolf opens a door below and kills a calf. Once he is able to get a wolf encircled and pushed out. He and his hunters fire with heavy lead shot and wound the wolf. The wolf is tracked over nearly 20 "werst" and is killed by his hunters. The wolf carried on despite his lungs having been pierced by shot. He also relates the success of a local hunter who killed a huge wolf at close distance with bird shot. He describes the poor armament of Russian hunters. I can only conclude that despite their poor armament Russian hunters and trappers were very good at setting snares and dead fall and eliminated wolves for precisely the same reasons that Max Hinsche describes for trappers in northern Alberta early in the past century.

Clearly, the matters which I unearthed in the relevant German literature deserve some close academic attention by historians.

More info. Alberta encompasses 255,541 square miles. Roughly half is boreal forest and wolf country. The wolf kill in the late 40's and early 50's thus varied about 1 wolf per 85 square miles to roughly double or 1 wolf per 160 square miles.  Top wolf population in current time is about 3500 wolves in Alberta or about 1 wolf per 35 square mile. That's after wolves were protected and spread. Consequently, during the 1930's – 50's there probably were only some 2,000 wolves alive in Alberta. The trapper kill of about 800-1100 was thus considerable.

Is it possible that even the partial destruction of pack would lead to the total loss of the pack due to competition from neighbors?

The answer is, apparently, yes. Even the removal of part of a pack can reduce its chances to survive let alone reproduce. See: Brainered et al. 2008. Effect of breeder loss on wolves. Journal of Wildlife Management. Vol 71(1):89-98.

In addition to the above, there were in Alberta operations to increase ungulate population numbers by poisoning wolves in the 1950's and 60's (Gunson 1992). There was poisoning campaign of wolves in British Columbia beginning 1951 and ending 1959, during which tons of horse meat poisoned with strychnine or 1080 were cast from aircraft.