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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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Monday, January 31, 2011

Lakes Erie and Ontario first explored by La Salle along with Dollier and Galinee with the hopes of finding a waterway to China...................French exploration of North America in 1669-70.............vast herds of deer and bear aplenty

The Journey of Dollier
LaSalle and Galinee
1669-1670(LaSalle later ventured down

the Mississippi, again in search of a route
to China via water)                                                    
La Salle
 The brothers of St. Sulpice, an order founded
in Paris in 1641, were brave and gallant men, many of them
of noble birth and lofty ideals. They dreamed of an empire
in New France that should be the Kingdom of God upon the
earth, and with the coming to Montreal of the Western In-
dians for their yearly barter, fair opportunities opened to the
Sulpicians for mission work among the tribesmen. Already
the brother of the great Fenelon had begun a mission on the
north shore of Lake Ontario, when a chance came to open new
mission territory in the Far Southwest. The governor of New
France fostered the enterprise for the exploration's sake, and
in midsummer of 1669 a brave little flotilla of seven birch-bark
canoes set off from the water-gate of St. Sulpice to seek a
new route into the Western unknown.
    Three remarkable men, all in the vigor of early life, were
leaders of this expedition. FranCois Dollier de Casson, power-
ful in frame, erect and soldierly of bearing, was a Breton of
noble family, who had served as cavalry captain under the great
Turenne. Although but thirty-three years old, he had been
three years in Canada, and had learned the Algonquian tongue
by wintering in the huts of the savages.

  Dollier de Casson was the originator and leader of the ex-
pedition. At the last moment it was decided to associate
with him a newly-arrived member of the order, Ren de
Brehant de Galinee, likewise of a noble Breton family. He
had reached Montreal in the late summer of 1668, and, being
an expert mathematician, was chosen to accompany the ex-
pedition as map-maker and chronicler. A shrewd observer
and ready writer, possessed of a keen sense of the picturesque,
Galinee gives us in the following pages one of the most inter-
esting narratives of travel that has survived from the seven-
teenth century. His New World experiences were limited.
In 1671 he returned to France, never again to visit the great
wilderness whose waterways he so vividly described.
    The third member of the expedition was still younger than
the two priests, but destined to leave a permanent impress on
the history of North America. Robert Rene Cavalier, Sieur
de La Salle, was a Norman from Rouen, where his father was
a wealthy burgher interested in the fortunes of the Company of
New France. Robert's elder brother Jean had preceded him
to Canada, where as a member of the Sulpician order he was
in a position to aid his younger brother. Upon the latter's
arrival, in 1666, he had secured for him a seigneury on the upper
end of Montreal Island, named, in derision of his ambition
for Western exploration, La Chine. That it might lead to the
discovery of a new water-route to China was apparently La
Salle's earliest hope. With a quick and comprehensive mind
he readily mastered the Algonquian language.

So far as is recorded, this was the first journey from the lower
Great Lakes to the upper ones, the first expedition to come
within sound, if not within sight, of the cataract of Niagara,
the first to map the shores of Lakes Ontario and Erie. The
incidents of the voyage are so graphically given by Galin6e
that the reader can follow the travellers with ease.

"We had very good hunting there.    At last we arrived, on the 13th or 14th, at the shore of
Lake Erie, which appeared to us at first like a great sea, be-
cause there was a great south wind blowing at the time.
There is perhaps no lake in the whole country in which the
waves rise so high, which happens because of its great depth
and its great extent. Its length lies from east to west, and its
north shore is in about 42 degrees of latitude. We proceeded
three days along this lake, seeing land continually on the
other side about four or five leagues away, which made us
think that the lake was only of that width; but we were un-
deceived when we saw that this land, that we saw on the
other side, was a peninsula separating the little bay in which
we were from the great lake, whose limits cannot be seen
when one is in the peninsula. I have shown it on the map I
send you pretty nearly as I saw it.
 we found a spot which appeared to us so beauti-
ful, with such an abundance of game, that we thought we could
not find a better in which to pass our winter. The moment
we arrived we killed a stag and a hind, and again on the fol-
lowing day two young stags. The good hunting quite deter-
mined us to remain in this place
 We hunted meanwhile and killed a considerable number
of stags, hinds, and roebucks
, so that we began to have no
longer any fear of leaving during the winter. We smoked the
meat of nine large animals in such a manner, that it could
have kept for two or three years, and with this provision
we awaited the winter with tranquillity whilst hunting and
making good provision of walnuts and chestnuts, which were
there in great quantities.
We had indeed in our granary 23
or 24 minots2 of these fruits, besides apples, plums and grapes,
and alizes3 of which we had an abundance during the autumn.
 I leave you to imagine whether we suffered in the midst
of this abundance in the earthly Paradise of Canada; I call
it so, because there is assuredly no more beautiful region in
all Canada. The woods are open, interspersed with beauti-
ful meadows, watered by rivers and rivulets filled with fish
and beaver, an abundance of fruits, and what is more impor-
tant, so full of game that we saw there at one time more than
a hundred roebucks in a single band, herds of fifty or sixty
hinds, and bears fatter and of better flavor than the most
savory pigs of France. In short, we may say that we passed
the winter more comfortably than we should have done in

  Hitherto the country of the Ottawas had passed in my
mind, and in the minds of all those in Canada, as a place where
there was a great deal of suffering for want of food. But I
am so well persuaded of the contrary that I know of no region
in all Canada where they are less in want of it. The nation
of the Saulteaux, or in Algonkin Waoiiitik6ungka Entaouakk
or Ojibways, amongst whom the Fathers are established, live
from the melting of the snows until the beginning of winter
on the bank of a river nearly half a league wide and three
leagues long, by which Lake Superior falls into the Lake of
the Hurons. This river forms at this place a rapid so teem-
ing with fish, called white fish, or in Algonkin attikamegue,
that the Indians could easily catch enough to feed 10,000
It is true the fishing is so difficult that only Indians
can carry it on. No Frenchman has hitherto been able to
succeed in it, nor any other Indian than those of this tribe,
who are used to this kind of fishing from an early age. But, in
short, this fish is so cheap that they give ten or twelve of them
for four fingers of tobacco. Each weighs six or seven pounds,
but it is so big and so delicate that I know of no fish that ap-
proaches it. Sturgeon is caught in this small river, close by,
in abundance. Meat is so cheap here that for a pound of
glass beads I had four minots of fat entrails of moose, which
is the best morsel of the animal. This shows how many these
people kill. It is at these places that one gets a beaver robe
for a fathom of tobacco, sometimes for a quarter of a pound
of powder, sometimes for six knives, sometimes for a fathom
of small blue beads, etc. This is the reason why the French
go there, notwithstanding the frightful difficulties that are

The American Badger..................a denizen of the Prairie(eastern limits in Ohio).........squirrels prairie dogs, rats and rabbits are principal foodstuffs.................this tough predator can hold it's own against a coyote............ As we have mentioned in other postings, Badgers can also partner with coyotes to optimize hunting success

The Badger in Texas
While in the field observing wildlife, I have had the opportunity to encounter some intimidating creatures. For example, mountain lions, black bear and alligators are all things that have made what little hair I have remaining stand on end.
However, one that is overlooked many times is the close relative of the small and uncommon weasel, and that is the robust America badger.The American badger (Taxidea taxus) inhabits the western two-thirds of this continent, from central Canada southward through the western United States to the southern Mexican state of Chiapas.In Texas, it can be observed in all but the very easternmost counties, though it prefers the grassland prairies of the Panhandle and Trans-Pecos regions. It is reportedly expanding its known range as land-clearing operations continue throughout the Southeast.
Badgers are comical in appearance, with disproportionately short legs and a broad, rotund torso. Males are the larger of the two sexes, achieving lengths in excess of 2½ feet. Females are slightly smaller, only reaching about 2¼. Healthy adults weigh anywhere from eight pounds up to 22, although the average is about 15 pounds. The fur is colored in a gray and brown mixture, with an undertone of yellow, and is shaggy. The tail is short (roughly 5 inches) and is thick, bushy and colored the same as the body fur. There is a distinctive white line that runs from the tip of the nose over the head to just past the shoulders, where it fades into the grizzled fur. There also is a distinct white patch behind each eye, set off by a black, shark-fin shape between the patch and the ear. The front claws, used for digging in the soil, are extremely long.
The diet of the badger is consistent throughout its known range, and it is no coincidence that the range of the badger coincides with that of the multiple species of ground squirrels that inhabit this state. Ground squirrels, and their larger counterpart prairie dogs, make up the vast majority of the diet of the badger, though other items such as kangaroo rats, cottontails and other burrowing rodents are occasionally eaten as well.
Badgers are expert diggers, and these prey are typically dug out of their burrows as the badger utilizes its long front claws and powerful front legs. Badgers are typically solitary creatures, save for when it comes time to reproduce. Males are polygamous and will mate with up to four females every year. Breeding season is usually in the late summer and early fall, though the fertilization of the egg does not occur until January. The one to five young are born in early spring, and like most mammals are born covered in a light fur and totally blind. The eyes open in about one month, and weaning begins to take place at about the second month. By this time, the young are almost half-grown. They will stay with the mother for an additional five months until they are ready to venture out on their own.
Do not underestimate a badger's fighting skills just because they are comical in appearance. They have few natural enemies, and many domesticated dogs have succumbed to the fiery personality, teeth and claws of a healthy adult badger. There is even a record of a badger that successfully fought off two coyotes, so this animal is not one to be confronted.

No doubt that wolves are a key predator of caribou and can depress a declining population even further.............In the case of Unimak Island in Alaska, native hunting seems to have started the downward spiral of caribou and now wolf culls are being called for to stabilize caribou numbers for the the native humans on the island...............Always a complicated issue on how to institute sustainable hunting so that wolves, bears and cougars do not have to killed in the process


Aerial Hunt Targets Unimak Wolves Under Guise of Protecting Caribou

Alaska's wolves are being lined up for death again by aerial hunting and gassed dens. The target in this latest round of wolf massacres is the wolves of Unimak Island.Why? The Alaska Department of Fish and Game had to restrict bull caribou hunting in 2009 after their style of over-hunting left only five bulls per 100 cows.
Now the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is prepared to wage war against wolves in order to increase caribou numbers for hunters. What makes this even more devastating is that the Unimak Island is located within the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge. If a federal wildlife refuge is no longer a safe haven for wildlife, what is left?
We only have until January 31st to submit a response to the FWS public comment period for this plan. Defenders of Wildlife, Alaska Wildlife Alliance and Center for Biological Diversity have each launched a fight against this decision. A decision that could have implications on a number of future wolf management decisions. Take action now to send your objections.
Alaska, The Last Frontier state, is well-known by now for their eagerness to use aerial hunting to kill wolves. ADF&G is hiding behind 50 residents of Unimak Island to justify wolf slaughter. These residents, they argue, require the Unimak Island caribou for subsistence hunting.
Not so, contends Alaska Wildlife Alliance. Unimak Island residents prefer to hunt on the mainland. Additionally, caribou is traditionally used as a diet supplement, where food from the water is the primary source of food.
In a letter (pdf) supporting a version of an environmental assessment plan that will lead to the most wolf deaths possible, ADF&G cited "predation by wolves as the most likely factor limiting caribou calf recruitment." I don't know about you, but the words most likely aren't very comforting coming from a state wildlife management agency. It sounds like scientific research wasn't a part of this determination.
The letter goes on to say that since hunting was restricted in 2009, populations have continued to decline. Well sure, since there aren't enough bulls for reproduction. The herd was left in a downward spiral that could not be reversed in a span of two years, regardless of wolf predation. Unobtainable expectations result in blaming of wolves, once again.
In addition to killing wolves, ADF&G wants to relocate bull caribou to the island. I can understand reversing the population crash they created by bringing in more caribou. But I get the feeling that once numbers are high enough to hunt, we will be in this same situation again. If there are no wolves left on the island, some other factor besides ADF&G management practices will be blamed.
All of this is happening rather quickly. Only six months ago, a federal judge ordered that before wolf killing could begin, an environmental study would have to be completed. The FWS environmental assessment does little more than advocate for Alaska's original plan.
An article in the Alaska Dispatch states that Alaska biologists "admit there is no guarantee that killing wolves that prey on Unimak caribou will help the herd grow." Population counts this past fall by Izembek National Wildlife Refuge indicate that the herd is showing signs of increasing. So killing for the sake of killing is the real M.O. here.
FWS originally objected to aerial hunting in wildlife refuges. It appears they have changed their minds, not due to new scientific data but rather from pressure within Alaska. This is a monumental mistake where we have the voices needed to prevent it from taking place.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Excellent commentary by "New West " Reporter Steve Bunk urging all of us to respect peer reviewed Science............even when it runs counter to our biased and subjective feelings......Montana State Biologist Scott Creel has been vilified by both Wolf haters and lovers in the Rocky Mountain States for revealing that human hunting is additive to natural mortality and can reduce wolf populations to unsustainable levels.............that wolves do reduce Elk's fertility through the element of fear and driving herds into less hospitable grazing habitat in the Mountains...............I say thank you Scott for revealing both of these pertinent informations.............Helps us make the wisest land use decisions going forward in wolf restoration management

When Emotion Drives the Wolf Debate, Research Suffers

The Rocky Mountain West is producing solid science in regard to wolves. Too bad what's learned is buried under what's opined.
By Steve Bunk

Montana State ecology professor Scott Creel is among scientists leading the way on wolf research that's vilified by the FWP but backed by his peers.
Montana State ecology professor Scott Creel is among scientists leading the way on wolf research that's vilified by the FWP but backed by his peers.
All the information out there, informed and uninformed, surely has raised awareness that wolves are important to many of us, whether by their presence or absence. But how good are we at recognizing and using accurate information to shape our opinions?
As a former science journalist, what's become clear in the cacophony regarding wolves in the West is that where emotion rules, research should.
For six years, I wrote about biological research for scientific trade journals. I can't use a Bunsen burner or a radio collar to save my life, but one thing I did learn is how the scientific method works. Through countless interviews with scientists across this country and around the world, I came to understand that the way scientists analyze and try to solve problems is much different from how you and I might do it.
Their method, developed over centuries, has definable steps, builds upon what others have done, and causes changes in accepted thinking that often occur very slowly, against great resistance. Good science is inherently a conservative endeavor. If a study method is flawed, its results can be questioned.
For example, the number of individuals in a given study could be too small to provide a statistically significant result. The study might not last long enough, or it could have inadequate follow-up. Perhaps there are no controls, such as groups that are not treated, say, with an experimental drug, or are unaffected by some other situation being investigated.
Any number of other shortcomings can make the results of a study debatable. The public should have a general awareness of such things. If it's technical, we don't expect to understand all of it, but we sure can look for the presence or absence of key indicators.
When you look at all the talk about wolves, relatively little of it concerns the most well-informed, rigorous, reliable information we have. Some of the world's leading scientific research on wolves has come from universities in the Rocky Mountains. One needs to look no farther than Montana State University at Bozeman, where ecologists have produced a complex and subtle picture of elk-wolf interactions.
For years, these researchers studied five elk populations and monitored wolves. Among many discoveries, they learned that concentrations of the female hormone progesterone are lower in elk where wolves are more numerous, and that these lower concentrations correspond to fewer calves born. This revelation, which indicates that the mere presence of wolves can affect elk reproduction, is one of several "risk effects," which are a unifying theme of the group's multifaceted research. In this case, the risk effect is that while elk change their behavior to avoid predation by wolves—including where they graze and how much nutrition they subsequently get—these changes also can carry costs to the welfare of the species. 
The Montana group's leader, ecology professor Scott Creel, won the 2010 Carl Gustaf Bernhard Medal from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences for this work. Yes, the same group that awards several of the Nobel Prizes. Yet for many folks, the take-away message of Creel's research was that he seemed to be anti-wolf. After all, his work showed that wolves scare elk into the mountains, where the cows sometimes can't get enough good nutrition to produce offspring. Late last year, Creel the wolf-hater became Creel the wolf-lover. It began when he and Jay J. Rotella published a scientific paper in September that analyzed the relationship between gray wolf populations and human killings of the animals. The paper mentions that under a hunting proposal submitted to the federal government by Montana's Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP), the state's wolf population would incur a decline "substantially greater" than the 13 percent predicted by the agency.
In December, the Bozeman Daily Chronicle reported it had obtained a copy of a letter from an FWP official to the university's president complaining about Creel's findings.  The official, Dave Risley, who heads the agency's Fish and Wildlife Division in Helena, later complained to a reporter that Creel had not contacted FWP researchers when "selectively" using the agency's data in his study, and charged a lack of professional integrity. The university backed Creel's peer-reviewed work. The paper is a meta-analysis, which means it uses established statistical methods to examine all the relevant, scientific data on wolf population growth, total wolf deaths and those deaths caused by humans. What Creel and Rotella discovered was that the prevailing opinion, among not only governmental authorities but also other wildlife biologists, concerning how many wolves could be killed by humans without destabilizing a given population was higher than that indicated by the data. The study is a tool for wolf management.
The biologist who is also an accomplished statistician is rare. The paper by Creel and Rotella ends with a reminder relevant to this point. "Finally," it says, "these results highlight the ongoing need to fully incorporate quantitative analysis of available data in the development of conservation and management policies."
The misunderstanding by the general public of these scientists' work is far from unusual. Scientists are the best sources of information about the world around us, yet too often what they discover and report is drowned in a flood of poorly informed opinion. If we want to understand wolves, and not just emote about them, we have to understand what the biologists are learning. That's discernment. That's what wise consumption of information should be about.
You can get opinion at the coffee shop with your doughnut, and it can be fun to have. But if we vilify scientists because what they discover doesn't suit our preconceptions, then our amazing access to information nowadays becomes threatened by the curse of irrelevance.

Dense horizontal woodland structure..........Old Growth Forest conditions.............Winter foraging runs rather than deep hibernation..........all variables that can work for and against Pine Martens in our Inter-Mountain West..............Now listed as a "Sensitive Species" by the U.S. Forest Service

The Western Pine Marten
Listed by the Forest Service as a Rocky Mountain region sensitive species

Pine martens are a type of weasel that prefer to live in forests.
Pine martens are a type of weasel that prefer to live in forests.
Unlike many people venturing into the wild of the High County, U.S. Forest Service wildlife biologist Ashley Nettles has encountered a pine marten. It had snuck up on her to eat her lunch.  "The young ones can be curious — like any young mammal, they don't know to avoid humans," she said. The creature, which is in the weasel family and is generally carnivorous, had its head in her Jello container. "The little guy ... came out with a red head," she said. "He was bouncing around in my lunch bag." After a few minutes of taking video and watching the long, slender animal with its bushy tail, she scared it off to encourage its fear of humans.

The pine marten is a generally elusive creature that's on the Forest Service's Rocky Mountain region's sensitive species list, Nettles said. That listing requires forest service personnel to consider how forest management practices will impact the animal's habitat. They need "complex, structured forests," she said, such as dense, multi-story forests comprised of several species such as spruce and fir. Nettles added that the stand structure may be more important than the species composition within the stand.  Understory complexity of logs, rock piles and outcroppings, stumps, fallen trees, slash, and boulder fields provides access to winter forage and rest, cover from predators and protection from the elements.
So, Nettles said, clear cutting and prescribed burns can have severe effects on martens. Even-aged lodgepole doesn't suit them very well," Nettles said, because there's fewer shelter and forage options — squirrels, chipmunks, voles and ground rodents aren't as prevalent on wide-open forest floors. They also opportunistically munch on plants, insects and birds, but "can shred a squirrel in no time," Nettles said, adding that they're generally not dangerous to humans, but they do have sharp teeth and shouldn't be pet or hand fed.
"Loss of old growth habitat is cause for concern and is a large reason they're on the [Rocky Mountain region] sensitive species list," Nettles said. She showed research that showed martens aren't likely to cross opening in the forest canopy that are larger than 100 to 300 meters wide. Pine martens live in all Rocky Mountain region forests except the Nebraska National Forest, Nettles said, and are rare enough that signs of one to 10 can be seen daily in the appropriate season or habitat. The home range is larger for males, when prey is more scarce and in fragmented landscapes. A Wyoming study showed that males averaged about 500 to 800 acres and females about 200 acres, which is thought to be similar to the marten's ranges in Colorado.
They make dens in log or tree hollows, squirrel nests and burrows. They are mostly nocturnal, and are generally solitary. Martens come together for breeding season, which is from July to September, and they give birth from mid-March to late April.
Nettles also showed research that shows populations can fluctuate dramatically because reproduction isn't always successful, because of the way martens move and their mortality. In winter, they don't stop being active unless severe weather moves in. They tend not to migrate according to altitude, either. Instead, they keep foraging on the ground or in trees — Copper Mountain resident Kim Fenske said he's seen one or two roaming about during his winter excursions into the backcountry

Hotter.....Wetter.........Drier................a smorgasboard of variables need to be taken into account and studied closely as it relates to how species will react to our changing weather patterns in the months and years ahead..........Wetter and cooler conditions can actually cause species to move downhill and Southward just as drying and hotter conditions can shift species Northward and uphill................Bottom line is that "we are not in Kansas anymore" in terms of what we remember as normal weather patterns..............As my former boss Phil used to say: all living creatures will be in an "ADAPT AND OVERCOME" mode as Global weather patterns continue to deviate from historical norms

Mountain plant communities moving down despite climate change, study finds

A study in the journal Science challenges assumptions that climate change and rising temperatures would send vegetation to higher elevations. A rise in precipitation could be the cause.

An early 20th century photograph taken as part of a U.S. Forest Service survey of California flora. (UC Berkeley / January 24, 2011)
    Predictions that climate change will drive trees and plants uphill, potentially slashing their range to perilous levels, may be wrong, suggests a new study that found vegetation in California actually crept downhill during the 20th century. The research, published in the Jan. 21 issue of the journal Science, challenges widely held assumptions about the effect of rising temperatures on shrubs and trees that play a critical role in mountain environments. Various studies in recent years have predicted that to survive global warming, mountain plant communities will march to higher elevations in search of cooler temperatures — and, if they are unable to do so quickly enough, could perish.

But comparing data from the early and late 20th century, authors of the Science paper found that despite warming, many plant species in California mountain ranges are growing at lower elevations than they did 80 years ago. The scientists attributed the shift to a wetter climate in Central and Northern California, which offset the effect of higher temperatures.
The lesson, said coauthor John Abatzoglou, a University of Idaho assistant geography professor, is that "we'd be remiss if we just focus on temperature," in forecasting the influence of climate change on plant life. "This might mean species extinction rates may not be as dire as predicted." Climate warming models have consistently indicated that California will get hotter. But modeling has been less certain about the effect on total precipitation. Some models suggest the state will grow wetter — if less snowy. Some suggest it will grow drier. The researchers were careful to say that the rise in precipitation in much of California over the last century could be a function of natural variability and have no link to the effects of greenhouse gases accumulating in the atmosphere.
For whatever reason, Abatzoglou said the Sierra was 5% to 10% wetter in the final half of the 1900s than in the first half, allowing tree and shrub species to take hold at lower elevations. Comparing historic vegetation data from 1905 to 1935 to information gathered from 1975 to 2005 by researchers and federal agencies, the study found that about five dozen species had on the whole migrated downhill an average of about 264 feet.

These revelations relied in part on a treasure trove of botanical information collected in the 1920s and '30s as part of a broad-ranging survey of California wild lands directed by U.S. Forest Service silviculturist Albert Wieslander. Partly funded by New Deal programs, it includes records from about 14,000 plots, hand-drawn maps and several thousand photographs that document timber stand conditions. "These data sets provide us with an unprecedented view" of the large-scale changes in plant distribution that have occurred over the last 75 years in California, said coauthor Solomon Dobrowski, an assistant forest management professor at the University of Montana.

Those shifts, he said, were driven by changes in water availability rather than in average annual temperature, which rose about 1 degree across the state during that period. Implications of the findings extend beyond California. Globally, "many locations north of the 45-degree latitude have experienced increased precipitation over the last century," Dobrowski said. "And global climate models generally predict these locations [will] become wetter over the next century."
If it turns out that California does grow drier with global warming, "We would expect things to turn a corner and start moving uphill," he said. Even if they don't, the effect of climate change on mountain environments could be complex. Insects are more sensitive to temperature and are likely to move uphill, Dobrowski said. And if the plants they eat and pollinate are shifting downhill, that could be an issue "We can't oversimplify the problem in terms of biological communities," he said.
Connie Millar, a U.S. Forest Service research ecologist who is studying climate change's effects on alpine ecosystems, said the Science paper demonstrated that global modeling results can't just be uniformly applied. "There are surprises at regional and local scales," she said, adding that land managers needed to take that into account in planning how to deal with climate change. For instance, if valued plant communities are moving out of public lands at higher elevations into private property downhill, they will be more vulnerable to development and more in need of open space corridors connecting them to protected areas.
Millar's research in the Eastern Sierra and the Great Basin has also found that tree lines are moving down rather than up, although for slightly different reasons. They are shifting down slope into drainages that are cooler, and coincidentally, moister.

5 confirmed cougars sighted in Kansas since 2007 per Kansas Fish and Wildlife............I am calling on my friend, Helen Mcginnis of the Eastern Cougar Foundation to alert all of us on whether these Lions are "prospectors" looking for mates out of the Dakota's or potentially the beginning of a breeding population..............Helen, Happy New Year and we look for your commentary please!

Mountain Lions in Kansas


Although this photograph of a mountain lion was not taken in Kansas, five sightings of mountain lions have been confirmed by the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks in Kansas since 2007.

    By Cristina Janney
    It used to be a thing of myth — big cats stalking the Kansas prairie.
    But new evidence confirms it is not a myth — there are mountain lions in Kansas — so said a biologist with the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks during a lecture sponsored by Dyck Arboretum Tuesday night.

    The lecture on the creatures who have been elusive in Kansas for years was so popular, the event had to be moved from the arboretum visitor's center to Hesston Mennonite Church. An estimated 240 people attended the event— the largest crowd ever for a speaker in the arboretum's winter lecture series.

    Unlimited hunting of mountain lions in the 1800s and early 1900s almost eradicated mountain lions from the Midwest. The last historical sighting of a mountain lion in Kansas was in 1904 in Ellis County.
    On Tuesday, Matt Peek, furbearer biologist with the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks and mountain lion investigator, discussed five confirmed cases of mountainlions in Kansas since 2007 — three of which were last year.
    In 2007, a farmer shot a mountain lion in Barber County while he was chopping wood.
    In 2009, a bow hunter took a picture of a mountain lion from a tree stand near a deer feeding station. Trail cameras caught mountain lions on film in October in Republic County and November in Nemaha County.

    In March, a sub-adult male mountain lion that had been raised in cap
    tivity and released near Estes Park, Colo., roamed into Kansas. The mountain lion was collared with a radio collar, and scientists were able to track the animal's movements for the month it remained in the state. Peek and his colleagues were able to visit the sites where the animal had paused to rest or feed in western Kansas.
    In the flat and mostly barren landscape of western Kansas in winter, the mountain lion found shelter in shelter belts, patches of weeds and draws along the Smoky Hill and Arkansas rivers. Although the mountain lion killed a domestic cat while in Kansas, it did not attack any other domestic animals while in the state even though it came near farms and grazing cattle.\

    Peek said animals that are dispersing from their home ranges in the western United States tend to stay on the move and eat small to medium prey.
    Study of the Estes Park mountain lion indicated it fed on two raccoons, a porcupine and a deer while in Kansas. However, the deer carcass was found near a road and may have been road kill, Peek said. "We have found them to be fairly opportunistic," Peek said. At last check, this animal was in New Mexico and had traveled more than 1,000 miles. Peek said it is difficult to know if this animal is indicative of other mountain lions because of its time in captivity.
    Many of the mountain lions located in the Midwest, and especially to the north in Nebraska, have been identified as sub-adult males, Peek said. Some experts believe as populations of mountain lions in the western United States have increased, dominant males have forced the younger males out of their home ranges.
    Peek theorized, based on the concentration of Nebraska sightings, mountain lions may be following river corridors in our neighbor to the north and therefore bypassing Kansas on their way east. However, this has not be proven conclusively, and outliers have occurred.

    The Kansas Department of Wildlife is interested in sightings of mountain lions, but Peek said the office can't investigate all cases. The department usually  will respond to a sighting if it is accompanied by other physical evidence, such as photographs, tracks, animal kills, fur or other physical signs. The department receives many reports annually that are misidentifications or hoaxes. Photographs of house cats, dog tracks and even a photo of a deer have been sent to the department with claims of mountain lion sightings. Some residents have sent photos taken outside of the state to department and media outlets, claiming the big cats were spotted or killed in Kansas, Peek said.

    From a distance, a mountain lion can be identified by its large size, small head relative to its body and long upward curving tail. Tracks can be differentiated from a dog's by their asymmetrical pad alignment and the three pads on the heal compared to two with dogs.

    There is no open hunting season for mountain lions in Kansas.
    If a land owner spots a mountain lion, it is only legal to shoot it if it comes close to buildings or destroys property. There are licensed wildlife operators who can deal with the mountain lions."You can't shoot it if it is walking across a field," he said, "but you can resolve it through current regulations and statutes." For more information on mountain lion sightings in the Midwest, visit

    Montana Federal District Judge Molloy to be holding hearings on whether to scrap the "NON-ESSENTIAL DESIGNATION on Gray Wolves in the Northern Rockies...........Gutting this provision that currently allows FWS to kill wolves that are proven to be livestock killers would make it illegal for wolves to be killed under the endangered species act.................Judge Molloy feels that the 1995 introduced wolves are now fully integrated into the pre-introduction wolf population and therefore the non-essential status should no longer be applicable..............Anotherwards, the Wolves of the Rockies are not an experimental temporay population...............they are part of the fabric of life of the region(as they were for millenia) and that the Endagngered Species Act which currently protects wolves is the prevailing law as it relates to their status in the USA

    Judge's ruling could threaten state's ability to kill wolves

    A federal judge in Montana is asking parties to a lawsuit over gray wolves if the animals should lose their experimental, nonessential designation and revert to a fully endangered or threatened designation.

    Such a move could torpedo Idaho's request to kill wolves in the Lolo Zone.

    The order, issued this afternoon by District Court Judge Donald Molloy of Missoula, Mont., stems from a lawsuit filed in 2008 by environmental groups over new rules issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service making it easier for states to kill wolves for the purpose of protecting deer, elk and moose herds. States like Idaho can petition the federal wildlife agency for permission to kill wolves if they are found to be harming wild ungulate herds. The petitions are allowed under the designation of wolves in Idaho and parts of Montana as an experimental nonessential population.

    Wolves were reintroduced to the Northern Rockies in 1995 and 1996 under that designation, known as 10(j). To qualify as an experimental population, the wolves must be "wholly separate geographically from nonexperimental populations of the same species."

    Molloy said that was the case at the time of reintroduction. However, he wrote the federal government documented in another lawsuit that wolves in the Northern Rockies are now breeding with wolves from Canada and a portion of Montana where they are not designated as an experimental population.

    Molloy issued an eight-page order to show cause asking parties to the case to file briefs showing why the case "should not be dismissed as moot due to the absence of a population meeting the statutory requirements for 10(j) status."

    If the case is dismissed and wolves in Idaho lose their experimental designation the state could lose its ability to kill wolves for preying on deer and elk herds or for preying on livestock.

    Molloy set a briefing deadline of Feb. 22.

    In a previous ruling last summer, Molloy restored federal protection for wolves in Idaho and Montana following their return to state management in 2009. In a stunning move, Judge Molloy is asking parties in the 10j lawsuit, if  reintroduced wolves experimental, non-essential designation should be vacated?

    The 10j rule was a concession to ranchers that allows reintroduced wolves to be killed for livestock depredation. Since 1995 hundreds of wolves have been gunned down by Wildlife Services under the 1oj. In 2008 the 10j rule was re-written to include "prey declines" as a reason to kill wolves, hence a lawsuit was brought challenging those changes.

    Judge Molloy is asking if the non-essential, experimental designation for reintroduced wolves still holds true, since they have been breeding with wolves in Northwest Montana. who dispersed on their own from Canada and are not governed by the 10j. At this point there is really no way to tell the two populations apart?

    From the Lewiston Tribune Online:
    "Judge's ruling could threaten state's ability to kill wolves January 28, 2011, 5:43 pm A federal judge in Montana is asking parties to a lawsuit over gray wolves if the animals should lose their experimental, nonessential designation and revert to a fully endangered or threatened designation. Such a move could torpedo Idaho's request to kill wolves in the Lolo Zone. The order, issued this afternoon by District Court Judge Donald Molloy of Missoula, Mont., stems from a lawsuit filed in 2008 by environmental groups over new rules issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service making it easier for states to kill wolves for the purpose of protecting deer, elk and moose herds. States like Idaho can petition the federal wildlife agency for permission to kill wolves if they are found to be harming wild ungulate herds. The petitions are allowed under the designation of wolves in Idaho and parts of Montana as an experimental nonessential population.

    Wolves were reintroduced to the Northern Rockies in 1995 and 1996 under that designation, known as 10(j). To qualify as an experimental population, the wolves must be "wholly separate geographically from nonexperimental populations of the same species."

    Molloy said that was the case at the time of reintroduction. However, he wrote the federal government documented in another lawsuit that wolves in the Northern Rockies are now breeding with wolves from Canada and a portion of Montana where they are not designated as an experimental population.
    Molloy issued an eight-page order to show cause asking parties to the case to file briefs showing why the case "should not be dismissed as moot due to the absence of a population meeting the statutory requirements for 10(j) status."
     If the 10j is vacated, all wolves in the Northern Rockies would be  fully protected by the ESA. making it much more difficult to kil them.
    Briefs on both sides are due by February 22, 2o11.
     I'm sure this is going to stir up a firestorm but it's long overdue. The 10j rule is moot.

    The Wall street Journal reporting on our friend Stan Gehrt's decade long study on the Urban Coyotes in and around Chicago................Keep up the good work Stan!


    Coyotes Establish Residency in Chicago

    Bushy-Tailed Predators Settle In From the Suburbs to Downtown but Can't Seem to Stay Off the Ice; On the Trail of No. 356


     CHICAGO—A dramatic rescue of a coyote floating on a chunk of ice hundreds of yards offshore in Lake Michigan just before Christmas drew glowing headlines and TV reports in the local media.

    The reception is a bit icier when the bushy-tailed predators show up in someone's backyard.
    Dennis Fath, a homeowner near the suburb of Schaumburg, Ill., said Rocky, his 10-pound bichon frise, was killed by a coyote in 2009. "I grew up in farm country," he said. "You know what they do to coyotes there."

    Canis latrans sightings and the sounds of their cries and yelps have become common around Chicago in recent years. After showing up in forest preserves in the suburbs, they moved on to Lincoln Park and other green areas of the city itself. They have been spotted prowling the streets of the downtown Loop late at night. One even wandered into a Quizno's sub shop there one afternoon in 2007.

    At least three times in recent years, coyotes have been spotted on ice chunks in the lake. In December, an animal control officer on a fireboat was able to pull in one such critter. The coyote, dubbed "Holly," is now recuperating from frostbite and is expected to be released into the wild in the next few months, said Dawn Keller, founder and director of Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation.

    There are at least 2,000 coyotes living in Cook County, which includes Chicago, said Stan Gehrt, an associate professor of wildlife biology at Ohio State University, who has led a major study of the county's urban coyote population since 2000. "It's a natural experiment," said Mr. Gehrt, who has shared his research with city agencies, wildlife groups and citizens from Portland, Ore., to New York City. "It's not something that people designed or have been involved with." Coyotes generally grow to between 30 and 35 pounds and are native to the plains and deserts west of the Mississippi. They moved eastward in the 19th and 20th centuries as wolves, their biggest natural predator, were all but wiped out. In recent decades, the animals have settled in cities from Florida to Nova Scotia.

    Mr. Gehrt has captured and gathered information on nearly 500 coyotes in the Chicago area. On many, he places a radio collar that lets him monitor their movements. His first subject, Big Mama, was part of the study for 10 years until she died of natural causes last April.
    He said the creatures usually steer clear of people and feast on rodents, geese and small deer.

    Only one coyote during Mr. Gehrt's study was found to habitually kill pets, and that one was trapped and killed amid a neighborhood outcry. No people have been reported hurt in Cook County by coyotes during the study, he said. But nationally there are three to five attacks a year, most resulting in minor injuries. Most problems crop up when coyotes become too comfortable around people after someone feeds them.

    Mr. Fath, the owner of a small shampoo company, said Rocky's death made him more concerned when another coyote was drawn to the neighborhood last fall to feast on squirrels, which were themselves being fed by several area residents. Around Thanksgiving, he asked neighbors to send an email if their pets were harmed by the coyote. He didn't receive a single email. About a month ago, the coyote moved on, Mr. Fath said. He dropped his effort to have it removed, but he still thinks that studying the coyotes is the wrong approach. "I thought their job was to control and protect people from wild animals, not release them back into a suburban area," he said.

    Donna Alexander, head of animal and rabies control for Cook County, said the coyote study is part of $160,000 the county spends annually to track diseases in a wide range of wild animals that could spread to pets and people. "We're not releasing them back into urban areas," she said. "The animals are trapped in forests and other natural areas and then tracked to see where they go."

    On a recent day, Mr. Gehrt steered a beat-up Ford Ranger through the streets of Schaumburg trying to pick up the radio signal of coyote 356, a female who had recently broken away from her pack and might be looking for a mate. "It's a good time of year if you like coyote soap operas," he said Mr. Gehrt stopped the truck as the coyote's radio collar signal grew stronger. He unfolded a hand-held antenna to continue the search on foot. He eventually located the coyote beneath the porch of a two-story home on the edge of a golf course. He folded up the antenna and headed back to the truck. "You don't want to raise the alarm," he said. "That could be bad for the homeowner and bad for the coyote."

    She might stay for 20 minutes to hide from a threat or be huddling near the house for warmth if, for instance, she has mange, a skin disease. "Sometimes it's best to wait and see," he said.
    Sure enough, a few days later, coyote 356's signal was found back in the territory of her old pack.

    Saturday, January 29, 2011

    Duhaut-Cilly's Account of California in the Years 1827-28...unlike the Indian tribes in the Eastern forests and Inter-Mountain West, the Indians in California did not cotton to trading beaver pelts for the trade goods that Duhaut brought with him from France................Grizzzly Bear, Coyotes and Deer abound throughout Californiz in the 1820's.........As readers of this blog know, The Griz is the animal pictured on the California flag.............Throughout the early and mid 1800's, California with it's rich Toyon trees and holly berries(that is where the name Hollywood comes from) supported the most dense population of Grizzlies in the lower 48 States.............

    August Bernard Duhaut-Cilly (1790-1849) enlisted in Napoleon's navy at the age of seventeen and fought the British from the coast of West Africa to the Indian Ocean. He left the military in 1814 to join the merchant marine and became one of his nation's most accomplished long-distance navigators. Unlike most sea captains, he was also an intellectual who read three languages and was an artist of considerable talent. After this voyage Duhaut-Cilly gave up the sea and retired to his native province of Brittany, where he served as the mayor of Saint Servan for several years before dying in 1849.
    Expedition of 1826-1829
    In April 1826 Duhaut-Cilly left France with a shipload of merchandise that his backers expected him to trade for furs on the Pacific coast of North America. Following a well-established route, he was to carry these American furs to China, where they would sell at a substantial profit, and then return to France. Unfortunately, the trade goods chosen in France did not much interest the Indians or the Spaniards of California.
    Duhaut-Cilly reached San Francisco at the start of 1827 and spent almost two years trying to unload his merchandise. By the end of 1828 he had tried ports from San Francisco to Peru, with two side trips to Hawaii. He finally reached China in December 1828, disposed of such cargo as he'd been able to assemble, rounded the Horn of Africa, and arrived back in France on July 19, 1829.
    At last we mounted our horses and, for about three leagues, followed one side of a long valley, leaving, on the right hand and on the left, high verdant hills where the mission herds were grazing. At every moment we saw those animals I have already described under the name of coyotes: their pelt is far from being as beautiful as that of the coyotes of Lower California; their color here tends much more to a dull grey; the tail is less covered with hair, and the fur is usually thinner.

    Reaching the southern end of the valley, we passed a ravine, and soon were in the plain, in the middle of which flows a brook, forming here and there little lakes. We dismounted on the edge of one of these ponds, and having tethered our horses, we went, each one by himself, to shoot the ducks of divers species, and the wild geese which we found in large numbers everywhere. Some of us killed, also, a species of heron, called in the country grulla [crane], considered by the people a delicate food.
    As we went on, the mountains we had -on our right, and which, beginning at the entrance to San Francisco, are at first barren and sandy, were covered with forests and fir trees up to their summits. Soon we reached an immense grove of beautiful oaks, mixed with some other full grown trees, into which we penetrated by an even and comfortable path.

     These magnificent woods, planted by nature, are not tangled with lianas or shrubs; they are arranged in thick, dense clusters, or scattered here and there, without, however, leaving between any considerable clearings. A grass of tender green is everywhere spread out like a carpet, and the traveller regrets that such beautiful spots have no other inhabitants than coyotes and bears. But we saw no animal of this latter species. They seldom attack passers-by; but the sight of them, and their odor, being enough to frighten horses and render them unmanageable
    If I be permitted to compare small things with great, it is in this way we grew accustomed in California to living, so to speak, among bears and rattlesnakes. in the forests and even in the fields. The Californians claim they seldom attack passers-by, and that, only when one happens to be near them, or arouses their savageness by teasing them, do they make use of their terrible claws and their extraordinary strength. ""But without waiting to see whether, near the dark den, The men fear the bears, or the bears fear the men,""

    I saw at this time a soldier bearing recent and indisputable proofs that they are not always of a very peaceful disposition. Fray Tonads told me he himself had saved the man's life, when the bear had already buried its claws in his right side and in his face. By the merest chance, this religious, walking in a very solitary road, in company with several men, had heard the cries of this unfortunate man, whom his horse, motionless with fear, had not been able to save; and having quickened his step and made a good deal of noise, the savage beast had left its prey and taken to flight. This man related that, reaching this narrow spot in the road, he had suddenly found himself face to face with the bear, two steps away; that not prepared for a fight, he had tried to escape the danger by turning back; but the animal had immediately thrown itself upon the crupper of his horse and had stopped him short.
    Be that as it may, bears are very common in the environs; and without going farther than five or six leagues from San Francisco, they are often seen in herds.

    In California, three or four horsemen, armed with their ropes, look upon going to attack a bear as a pleasure party: they bait it with a dead animal and wait silently. If the bear defend itself, and wish to rush upon one of them, the instant is favorable for the others to snare it from behind. If it flee, as happens most frequently, the best mounted rider attempts to cut off its way and force it to fight. The first lazo catching it leaves it only enough freedom to run upon the one who snared it; but the rest come and easily throw their own over it: they stretch them in every direction, and hold it fast, while one dismounts and ties its four paws. It is placed upon a hide and dragged where it is wanted.

    These animals are also destroyed in a more expeditious and less dangerous manner. Between the branches of a tree is constructed a trapiste (scaffolding), ten or fifteen feet above the ground, and several men are kept there armed with rifles, each one loaded with two bullets. Twenty paces from the tree is a horse, dead several days, the decay of which begins to make itself manifest. The bears, which, they say, have a very acute sense of smell, are drawn thither from a long way; and as they come, they are shot with great ease by the hunters. Padre Viader, president of Mission Santa Clara, a modest and truthful man, assured me he himself had killed a hundred in this way.
    Others dig a deep pit, covered over with a strong hurdle of boughs, on which they put some flesh of the kind to allure bears; and keeping themselves below, they kill them with thrusts or rifle shots.

    From time to tune we descried large deer herds. They were wandering in bands over these sloping pasture grounds, and we saw them run, browse, rush over the sides of these hills, so steep sometimes, that we could hardly imagine how they were able to hold themselves there without falling.
    There are also many bears in these wooded places; but as these animals seldom appear except at night, we saw none. But a man named Cipriano, who was with us in the long boat, related to me that, passing some months before in this channel, one of these ferocious beasts, which was swimming to Los Angeles Island, approached the boat, intending to climb into it, when some soldiers who were in it, with their arms, fired four balls at it at close range, just as the bear was getting its claws upon the boat, and killed it stone dead
     The hills of this part of California, and the plains they leave between them, support an immense quantity of deer of prodigious strength and size.

    Adaptable Carnivores like Sharks, Wolves, Coyotes, Bears and Coyotes are capable of "PREY-SWITCHING" from primary to secondary food sources....sometimes out of necessity.............sometimes simply because they are easy to take and in territory where primary prey reside...........This is the problem caribou are having in British Columbia where due to forest clearing, deer have moved into caribou territory............wolves follow the deer...............caribou become "prey-switching" victims of the wolves..........possible that something similar is going on off the California Coast where otters are the victims of Shark prey-switching from sea lions

    Sharks may be to blame for surge in Calif. sea otter deaths


     SAN FRANCISCO -- A record number of sea otter bodies were found on California coastlines last year, a trend that leaves scientists and conservationists concerned for the future of the furry ocean animals.

    About 304 carcasses were found in 2010, according to preliminary numbers released by the U.S. Geological Survey. Based on a spring count of 2,719 living sea otters, those bodies accounted for 11.2 percent of the population.
    In 2008 and 2009, there were 237 and 232 otters found dead, respectively. Those deaths accounted for less than 9 percent of the reported population in those years.
    The USGS numbers also showed that more pups and female otters were found dead last year than in previous years.
    "It's a giant increase," said Steve Shimek, founder of the Otter Project, a nonprofit organization that supports sea otter conservation. "When you combine that with the fact this past year the spring count showed there were very few pups born, that bodes terribly for the future."

    Scientists are trying to figure out why an increasing number of the cuddly looking sea mammals, which were once hunted to near extinction for their pelts, are being found dead on the state's shorelines. Their numbers were on the rise until 2007, then started declining.
    A toxin produced by freshwater bacteria, called microcystin and commonly referred to as blue-green algae, has been confirmed responsible for the deaths of 27 sea otters over the past five years, said Tim Tinker, lead scientist on sea otter studies for the USGS Western Ecological Research Center.
    "That by itself would in no way explain the high number of carcasses we have now," said Tinker, who also teaches ecology and evolutionary biology at UC Santa Cruz. He estimates the survey captures only about 40 percent of total California sea otter deaths.
    Tinker believes shark bites -- most likely from great whites -- may be the more likely culprit.
    About 65 to 70 otter carcasses were found to have been bitten by sharks last year, compared with about 60 for the previous year, which was also a high number, he said.
    Because sea otters are not the sharks' preferred prey -- they typically dine on seals and sea lions -- the sharks seem to be tasting the sea otters before moving on, Tinker said, explaining that many of the otter bodies were found with just a single bite wound.
    "From the shark's perspective, there's nothing lost," he said. "But from the sea otter's perspective, it's a lethal encounter."

    While the causes of their deaths are still being studied, Tinker believes the bitten otters probably died from infection. Because otters have virtually no body fat, they are far less likely than a blubbery seal or sea lion to survive a bite wound, he said.
    Unlike the otter population, the seal and sea lion populations have grown substantially in recent years, and their breeding and moulting spots have also increased along the coast, Tinker said.
    This increase is particularly notable in the southern end of their breeding areas, from Morro Bay to Pismo Beach, where an increased number of sea otter bodies were also found, Tinker said. That means the sharks appear to be shifting their hunt south to take advantage of the increased prey, and the otters become the unfortunate collateral damage.
    "The otter population is already so small that a relatively small number of lethal bites are having, we believe, a pretty major impact on the sea otter population," he said.

    A great 60 Mins special on Jaguars this Sunday night(tomorrow) Jan 30 on CBS....Jaguar Expert Alan Rabinowitz gets to view Jaguars as he in his long career has not witnessed............Even though the gifted Dr. feels that there should not be designated "Jag" habitat created in the USA( I disagree)............all of you should tune in to watch what should be a teriffic program

    In Search of the Jaguar: Up Close and Rare

    "60 Minutes" Cameras Capture Nature's Most Elusive Big Cats in Brazil

    • Play CBS Video Video Preview: In Search of the Jaguar "60 Minutes" went in search of the most elusive of all of nature's big cats, the jaguar, and captured amazing footage of them in the Brazilian jungle. Bob Simon reports this Sunday, Jan. 30, 7 p.m. ET/PT.
      Jaguar conservationist Alan Rabinowitz, who has made the animals his life's work, has gone months without seeing one. A wildlife photographer known for his jaguar pictures went three months with nothing but paw prints to shoot. But when "60 Minutes" went to Brazil in search of the most elusive of all of nature's big cats, they came out of the jungle on cue for their close-ups, one even swimming by the film crew's boat - a sight never encountered by Rabinowitz over decades of studying jaguars. The result is a Bob Simon story that takes viewers as close as humanly possible to the nocturnal cats in the jungles of Brazil that will be broadcast on "60 Minutes" this Sunday, Jan. 30, at 7 p.m. ET/PT. "Even though this is the densest, highest concentration of jaguars matching any place on Earth, there's still a limited number of jaguars here," says Rabinowitz, who has studied the animals for 30 years and is the CEO of a new conservation group, Panthera. He tells Simon that "60 Minutes" will have to get lucky. Jaguars in the wild are much more difficult to find than other big cats like lions or tigers. Just ask nature photographer Steve Winter. "I spent the first three months in the jungle and got a big fat zero…I felt like my career was over," he says.
      Simon and the crew went out on the Cuiaba River at night with Rabinowitz and Winter and had no trouble getting wonderful, close-up shots of the jaguars - luck Rabinowitz marveled at. "Look at her, God, she's beautiful, oh man and then she looks right at you," he says. "This one was a great sighting."
      And then Rabinowitz saw a sight he had never seen in all his years: a jaguar swimming right by their boats. "That was spectacular. I've never seen that before. What luck, what unbelievable luck, just as it's swimming across," he tells Simon. "There was no fear there. There was just pure curiosity. Like, 'What are you guys bothering me about?'" says Rabinowitz. The same jaguar stuck around to be videotaped again as it watched the crew on their boats from the shoreline. "Look at that, it's just sitting there on the mound, yes, just sitting there it's phenomenal," says Rabinowitz.

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      Friday, January 28, 2011

      Our friend Brooks Fahy of Predator Defense citing yet another business, Cabela's Sporting Goods(we cited Nikon cameras the other day) sponsoring Predator kill weeks.......... PLEASE CALL CABELA'S & PROTEST THEIR SUPPORT OF COYOTE KILLING CONTESTS!

      ---------- Forwarded message ----------
      From: Brooks Fahy <>
      Date: Thu, Jan 27, 2011 at 9:09 AM
      To: Rick Meril <>

      Hi Rick,

      January 27, 2011
      Dear Friends of Predator Defense,
      I just received this alert from a colleague in Idaho to boycott Cabela's Outfitters. The store continues to sponsor senseless coyote killing "derby" events like this Saturday near Boise, Idaho. Also, Cabela's hosts forums on its website that promote killing animals "for fun":

      Last year in Idaho, it wasn't just coyotes that were the target, but also wolves and bobcats. This weekend, January 29th, the Boise Cabela's store is helping to sponsor the 1st Annual Idaho Coyote Classic, hosted by Idaho Varmint Hunters (IVH).

      For those of you in Oregon, please note that Cabela's will open its first store in the state at the Gateway Mall in Springfield in Spring 2011. If you like coyotes and other predators or dislike predator-killing contests, Cabela's will be a powerful new entity to reckon with. We must try to convince Cabela's to rethink their promoting of predator killing contests, weapons, and hosting predator forums.
      The Idaho Varmint Hunters (IVH) are linked to a well-known anti-predator group, Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife (SFW). Cabela's and SFW are "conservation partners" according to the Cabela's website. Here's a photo gallery link from IVH that prominently displays Cabela's banner:

       TAKE ACTION (1) I would encourage you to boycott Cabela's as I and many of my colleagues are doing. I'm urging my friends and relatives to do the same until Cabela's changes its position and attitude toward the senseless slaughter of predators. This is not hunting for food. For those of you who support ethical, responsible hunting for sport, this is not that either.

       Corporate headquarters in Sidney, Nebraska - 308.254.5505. There are two people to ask for: Tommy Millner, CEO, and/or Joe Arterbun, Public Relations department. It's likely neither will be available so either leave a message with the secretary (or the recording) or ask to be called back. Be polite. Mention how important coyotes are to a healthy ecosystem and that these type of contest are unethical and blatantly cruel.

      Thank you for your support.


      Brooks Fahy
      Executive Director

      541-937-4261 Office
      541-520-6003 Cell

      The New Republican controlled House of Representatives are after Wolves from the get-go------They forget their Teddy Roosevelt roots of protecting wild creatures and lands..........They forget that if you are for strong national defense then you also have to be for all policies that make our "nest" biologically more diverse and secure................They forget that the root word of conservative is "to conserve"........I endorse balancing our budget and reducing deficits.............what does that have to do with destryoing Gods creatures?

      Deja vu. Rep.Rehburg (R-Mt) recently introduced two wolf delisting bills. You thought those bills died with the 111th Congress? Think again.This is the 112th Congress and he's after wolves again in Montana, Idaho and the rest of the country. There are two versions. One delists all gray wolves from the ESA and the other delists wolves in Montana and Idaho.

      Better get your dialing fingers ready and your puter keyboards warmed up because wolf persecution is a full-time job with these people. They want to get their hands on wolves so they can manage/shoot/kill, them to please their elk hunting and ranching buddies.

      They're gearing up for their lost wolf hunting season and can't waste another minute to strip gray wolves from the ESA.

      Are we going to allow  this to  happen or are we going to raise our voices and let Congress know the majority of Americans support wolves? Are we going to allow special interests  to dictate policy based on political whim?

      Get ready Wolf Warriors. It's time to stand for gray wolves, one more time.

      Please let these Representatives know how you feel about delisting wolves from the ESA.


      Wolf persecution bill HR 509:

      The one-page bill says that the Endangered Species Act shall not apply to gray wolves – across the board.


      Jim Matheson (D-UT)

      Cynthia Lummis (R-WY)

      Mike Ross (D-AR)

      Rob Bishop (R-UT)

      Leonard Boswell (D-IA)

      Dan Boren (D-OK)

      Paul Broun (R-GA),

      Dennis Cardoza (D-CA)

      Jason Chaffetz (R-UT)

      Dean Heller (R-NV)

      John Kline (R-MN)

      Raul Labrador (R-ID)

      Mike Simpson (R-ID)

      Greg Walden (R-OR)

      Don Young (R-AK)


      Wolf Persecution bill HR 510

      To amend the Endangered Species Act of 1973 to prohibit treatment of gray wolves in Idaho and Montana as endangered species, and for other purposes.


      Mike Simpson (R-Idaho)

      Raúl Labrador (R-Idaho)


      Both Bills have been referred to the House of Rep Natural Resources Sub-Committee.

      From Wolf Warriors:

      United States House of Representatives
      1324 Longworth House Office Building
      Washington, D.C. 20515
      ...Phone: (202) 225-2761
      Fax: (202) 225-5929

      Please direct all press inquiries to the Communications Office at: (202) 226-9019

      Subcommittee: Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans and Insular Affairs

      140 Cannon House Office Building
      (202) 226-0200 | Fax: (202) 225-1542

      Harry Burroughs, Staff Director
      Bonnie Bruce, Legislative Staff
      Dave Whaley, Legislative Staff

      US Congressman John C. Fleming, MD (R-LA) Chairperson
      Phone - 202-225-2777
      FAX - 202-225-8039
      Shreveport, LA
      Phone: (318) 798-2254
      Fax: (318) 798-2063
      eMail -

      Don Young - (R - Alaska)
      Washington DC
      Phone - (202) 225-5765
      FAX - (202) 225-0425
      Anchorage, AK
      T (907) 271-5978
      F (907) 271-5950
      email - (scroll down)

      Wittman, Rob - (R - VA)
      Washington DC
      Phone - (202) 225-4261
      Fax - (202) 225-4382
      Yorktown, VA
      Phone: (757) 874-6687
      Fax: (757) 874-7164
      Email -

      Duncan, Jeff (R- SC)
      Washington DC
      Phone: (202) 225-5301
      Fax: (202) 225-3216
      Aiken, SC
      Phone: (803) 649-5571
      Fax: (803) 648-9038
      eMail -

      Southerland, Steve (R-FL)
      Phone: (202) 225-5235
      Fax: (202) 225-5615
      Panama City
      840 W. 11th Street, Suite 2250
      Panama City, FL 32401
      Phone: (850) 785-0812
      Fax: (850) 763-3764
      eMail -

      Bill Flores (R-Texas)
      Phone: (202) 225-6105
      Fax: (202) 225-0350
      Phone: (254) 732-0748
      Fax: (254) 732-1755

      Harris, MD, Andy (R- Maryland)
      Washington DC
      Phone: (202) 225-5311
      Fax: (202) 225-0254

      Jeffrey Landry (R- LA)
      Phone: (202) 225-4031
      Fax: (202) 226-3944
      Phone: (985) 879-2300
      Fax: (985) 879-2306

      Jon Runyan (NJ)
      Washington DC
      Phone: (202) 225-4765
      Fax: (202) 225-0778
      Mount Laurel
      Phone: (856) 780-6436
      Fax: (856) 780-6440


      Donna Christensen (D-Virgin Islands)
      Ranking Member for the Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans and Insular Areas
      Washington, D.C.
      Phone: 202-225-1790
      Fax: 202-225-5517
      St. Croix
      Phone: 340-778-5900
      Fax: 340-778-5111


      Bordallo, Madeleine Z. (D - Guam) (and previous Chair)
      Washington, D.C. office

      Phone (202) 225 1188
      Fax(202) 226 0341 fax
      eMail -

      Frank Pallone, Jr. (D- New Jersey)
      Phone: (202) 225-4671
      Fax: (202) 225-9665
      Central New Jersey
      Phone: (732) 249-8892
      Phone: (732) 571-1140
      (888) 423-1140

      Dale Kildee (D-Michigan)
      Washington, D.C.
      Phone: (202) 225-3611
      Fax: (202) 225-6393
      Toll Free to Michigan Offices: 1-800-662-2685

      Eni Faleomavaega (D -American Samoa)
      Washington DC
      Phone: (202) 225-8577
      Fax: 202-225-8757
      American Samoa
      phone: (684) 633-1372
      Fax: (684) 633-2680

      Gregorio C. Sablan (D - Northern Mariana Islands At large)
      Washington, D.C.
      Phone: (202) 225-2646
      Toll Free Phone: (877) 446-3465
      Fax: (202) 226-4249

      Betty Sutton (D-Ohio)
      Washington, DC
      Phone: (202) 225-3401
      Fax: (202) 225-2266
      Akron, OH
      Phone: (330) 865-8450
      Fax: (330) 865-8470

      Pedro Pierluisi (D-Puerto Rico)
      Washington, D.C.
      Tel: (202) 225-2615
      Fax: (202) 225-2154


      Please contact members of the sub-committee and speak out about tampering with the ESA to remove gray wolves' protections. This is political expediency pure and simple. Science should trump politics concerning decisions related to endangered wildlife. That's why the ESA was created to protect wildlife like the wolf, who are subjected to scapegoating and persecution. Don't allow politicians to dismantle one of the most important pieces of environmental legislation ever  written. Stand up and speak out for wolves!


      Posted in: Endangered Species Act, gray wolf/canis lupus

      Tags: Attack on the ESA, Congress, persecuting gray wolves