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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wisconsin estimating that 1000 wolves now inhabit the State...As we saw in a previous Post, the majority of Wisconsin Sportsmen surveyed want Federal Wolf Delisting to occur asap..................At least in the surveys I have seen, a % of folks want the wolves trimmed way back to several hundred..................We need Wisconsin to more broadly interpret "minimimum population levels" as just that ...minimums and not maximums.........The Hunters will have to learn how to become better at their craft................while the Wolves do their thing and keep the Forest healthy and diverse

More than 1,000 wolves likely roam state

Gray wolves are expanding their range and growing in number in Wisconsin, increasing tensions between those who believe wolves need protection and those who want to see them killed.
Though the latest overwinter estimate on wolves outside of Indian reservations is in the mid-800s, it's a minimum number and doesn't include all the solo animals roaming the state. It also misses wolves in areas where they are not thought to be — but locals know otherwise. With that in mind, it's safe to say there were at least 1,000 wolves in the state this winter. That's before new pups, too.
Wolves are protected, but 16 were killed last year by federal and state officials due to concerns for human safety. At least 26 were killed by vehicles, and at least 14 — wildlife officials believe the actual number is likely much higher — were illegally shot and killed. Mange also takes its share of wolves, and wolves kill other wolves on occasion. Some also could die of age-related concerns, injuries or other diseases.
At least 207 wolf packs were identified this winter, most in northern Wisconsin but more than 30 in the central counties as far east as Oconto County. Some packs had 10 or more individuals; many had three or four.
Judging by comments on online message boards and in letters to the editor in Wisconsin Outdoor News, some people believe the only good wolf is a dead one. However, there's also plenty of sentiment that wolves simply need to be managed to goals originally set in state management plans. Think about it: When wolf numbers were thought to be in the 150 to 300 range, rarely did you hear of hunter complaints, livestock depredations or hounds and backyard pets killed by wolves. Additionally, deer kills were at or near record highs many of those years.
In my opinion, the overuse of earn-a-buck — and excessive antlerless tags used in units that weren't even under EAB regulations — did far more to reduce deer herds in the past decade than wolves ever did. The same could be said for severe winters and vehicle collisions.
Research in the Upper Peninsula has shown the coyotes and black bears kill more deer than wolves in areas where all three predators exist. It'll be interesting to see if the new Wisconsin studies this year find something similar.
For at least the third time in the past decade, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently announced plans to remove the Great Lakes population of wolves from the federal Endangered Species List. The last couple times, animal activist groups eventually managed to find a judge to stop state management, which involves lethal control of depredating wolves. With only emergency authority to kill wolves that were potential threats to human safety — and no legal authority to kill wolves targeting livestock or dogs last year — Wisconsin paid a record of more than $200,000 in confirmed wolf damage claims in 2010 on livestock, dogs and some fenced deer. Nearly four dozen farms reported wolf depredation.
If Wisconsin doesn't get federal help in the form of a new law guaranteeing state management, as Idaho and Montana recently did, look for some legislators here to follow Idaho's lead and introduce a "wolf disaster" bill.Even after getting help from a rider attached to the federal budget agreement signed last week, Idaho is taking no chances. Its governor signed a wolf disaster emergency bill that may prove useful if state management is revoked in the future or wolves are relisted under the Endangered Species Act.
Meanwhile, the Fish and Wildlife Service says it now recognizes two species of wolves in the Western Great Lakes: the gray wolf (Canis lupus), the wolf species currently listed under the ESA, and the eastern wolf (Canis lycaon), with a historical range that includes portions of eastern Canada and the Northeastern United States. Recent wolf genetic studies indicate that what was formerly thought to be a subspecies of gray wolf (Canis lupus lycaon) is actually a distinct species (Canis lycaon). To establish the status of this newly recognized species, the Service is initiating a review of C. lycaon throughout its range in the United States and Canada.

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